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Defining HOPE

What makes life worth living? How do we cope with serious illness? Nurses have a unique perspective on these questions. In touch with life, death, pain, and joy on a daily basis; nurses experience the most intense extremes of our existence and yet – they continue to devote their lives to providing dignity to anyone in need of care.

With the support of the American Nurses Foundation, award-winning filmmaker Carolyn Jones has brought these insights to life in ‘Defining HOPE,’ a feature-length documentary that tells the story of patients with life-threatening illnesses, and the nurses who share their journey.


The significance of hope

The Foundation has supported the documentary to raise public awareness of the impact of nursing and the light that nurses can bring to the darkest of times. 

Learn from the movie

 To fully showcase the nursing excellence in the documentary, the Foundation has invested in educational resources to accompany the work.

Our free study guide highlights 16 brief vignettes, covering a range of topics and profound talking points. Explore the guide with your clinicians or students to promote vital dialogue on how nurses can work together and continue to keep hope alive.

Through the film and the use of the American Nurses Foundation's guide, viewers will be able to:

  1. Discuss key factors that affect patient and family decision making about end-of-life care.
  2. Differentiate between hospice and palliative care.
  3. Compare and contrast the terms sympathy and empathy.
  4. Discuss internal conflicts that people may encounter when making decisions about whether to pursue aggressive treatment for life-threatening illnesses.
  5. Describe the role of the nurse in palliative care/hospice settings.
  6. Discuss how family members play a significant role in decision making surrounding care choices.


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