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photo Ethics Thru Drama
Sheila's Story
A Song Outta Tune
Created by Helen Emmott, RN, and Julie Russell, RN
A Take Ten, Inc., production by Linda Haskins

Part of the three-part Ethics Thru Drama series which is available on a single DVD! Homeless, poor, and HIV positive, Sheila lacks all the social supports, including health insurance, that might help her confront a terminal illness with some kind of dignity. Yet she struggles to find a way to "celebrate who I am: a loudmouth and a caretaker." Sheila took care of her grandmother who was dying of cancer, and later of her boyfriend. Now alone in the world, she hangs onto her faith that "God loves me," but fears that on earth "there won't be anyone who wants to put their hands on me." She recalls that doctors in their small town refused to treat her grandmother's severe pain, fearing she would "become a drug addict." She says that she complies with medical directions when doctors treat her humanely, "but if the guy just shoves it at me and he won't even look me in the eye, I skip it. I'm thinking 'maybe this guy don't know what's good for me.' Course, nobody's really after me to come get me some more healthcare."

Sheila's Story is one in a series of brief, one-character dramas created by bioethics educators Helen Emmott and Julie Russell, who are both experienced registered nurses. Performed by Russell, these evocative portraits offer nurses, physicians, social workers and other members of the healthcare team invaluable case material for use in thinking about these issues.

Every day in the life of a terminally-ill patient presents a host of complex issues for patients, families, and members of the healthcare team. As medical science and technology continue to evolve, discussions of the ethical aspects of end-of-life care become both more critical and more difficult. Learning to facilitate and participate in these processes is essential for all healthcare providers. The cases portrayed in these poignant monologues will stimulate hours of ethical discussion. Produced with support from ELNEC, the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium. Discussion Guide included.

19 minutes
© 2004
Purchase $129.00 DVD
Order No. QA-426

"We teach and learn what it means to be healthcare professionals through cases, the sharing of clinical narratives or stories. The most powerful way of teaching and learning illness narratives is through drama, through actual performances of patients' stories." William G. Bartholome, pediatrician and bioethicist

"The tapes and acting are magnificent, and the student response was wonderful!" Dr. Lynda Shand, School of Nursing, College of New Rochelle

"Unforgettable! Russell's performance is inspiring, touching, and thought-provoking. The characterizations hit audience members right between the eyes." Beth Ingram, Vice President, Arkansas Hospital Association

Awards & Conference Screenings
American Society on Aging

Related Films
Claire's Story: Claire is a nurse but, she says, "I've learned some things since I was the patient." When the physician gave her the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, she understood the words, "but I couldn't hear anything he was saying." One in a series of brief, one-character dramas created by two nurse-educators.

Tricia's Story: A breast cancer patient confronts difficult moral and spiritual issues as she comes to grips with the fact that her illness is terminal. One in a series of brief, one-character dramas created by two nurse-educators.

Caring at the End of Life — with related study films: This three-part series deals with end-of-life care and decision making in the hospital, through profiles of several severely ill patients and the staff who deal with them.

Pioneers of Hospice
More than a Failing Heart: Family members describe examples of the best of end-of-life care, and of the worst, and reveal how competent and compassionate physicians and nurses can change the end-of-life experience.


Awards & Screenings

Related Films

Study Guide

Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website