`The Starfish Throwers` Named 2014 NPT Human Spirit Award Winner at Nashville Film Festival

StarfishThrowers_Krishnan_blog

The Starfish Throwers, director Jesse Roesler‘s exploration of how three of the world’s most fiercely compassionate individuals fight hunger and struggle to restore hope to the hopeless in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways, has been named the winner of the 2014 NPT Human Spirit Award at the Nashville Film Festival (NaFF), which begins Thursday, April 17 at the Regal Green Hills Cinemas and venues throughout the city.

Jesse Roesler

Jesse Roesler

The NPT Human Spirit Award, presented each year by NPT to a Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) documentary selection, acknowledges a filmmaker’s work that best explores and captures the human spirit. The film must illuminate in a high artistic manner the important characteristics of what it means to be human: generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, fortitude and honor.

The Starfish Throwers screens on Saturday, April 19 at 1:15 p.m. and Sunday, April 20 at 1:00 p.m. at the Regal Green Hills Cinemas, Theater 3. Tickets are available now at the NaFF website.

The Starfish Throwers stands out among the films NPT considered for the Spirit Award this year for its simplicity and emotional impact,” said the jury in a joint statement. “This film tells the story of three people who have decided to make a difference in the world through a simple act: feeding hungry people. Seeing how their generosity and persistence create ripples in their communities, changing the lives of the people they come in contact with makes this a film everyone ought to see. Viewers shouldn’t be surprised if they find themselves wiping away a tear or two. The Starfish Throwers shows the human spirit at its best.

The NPT Human Spirit Award jury is Kevin Crane, VP of programming and technology; Sheila Fischer, Corporate and Community Development Manager; Justin Harvey, program manager; Brian O’Neill, director of brand management and creative services; Linda Wei, producer.

The NPT Human Spirit Award comes with Nashville Public Television’s intention to broadcast the film so that others may celebrate the generous role that great filmmaking plays in our lives. Previous winners of the NPT Human Spirit Award are Remote Area Medical (Dirs. Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman, 2013); Salaam Dunk (Dir. David Fine, 2012); Fambul Talk (Dir. Sara Terry, 2011) Raw Faith (Dir. Peter Wiedensmith, 2010); Crude (Dir. Joe Berlinger, 2009); Sons of Lwala (Dir. Barry Simmons, 2008); and The Clinton 12 (Dir. Keith McDaniel, 2007).

The 45th Nashville Film Festival takes place April 17-26, 2014 at the Regal Green Hills 16 Cinemas and other venues.

THE STARFISH THROWERS // Project Teaser #1 from Jesse Roesler on Vimeo.

`Call the Midwife` Recaps: Season 3: Episode 3: Mothers Behinds Bars

For the third season in-a-row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 30-May 18. Check in here every Monday morning for the next eight weeks for historical and contemporary context on the show, and some fun discussion. Plus, this year we’ll have the occasional bonus blog from across the pond to get the British perspective. So be sure to check the blog TWICE on Mondays. SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.

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By Michelle Collins PhD, CNM

Michelle Collins

“Prison is no place to have a baby!” utters midwife Trixie Frankliin (Helen George) in this week’s episode. Trixie and Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) tend to female prison inmates, with Sister Julienne in particular, going above and beyond on behalf of a young inmate. As stark as the circumstances for the incarcerated woman seem in the episode, it is startling how little progress has been made in the care of these extremely vulnerable women since the time period depicted in the series. The great majority of incarcerated women today have been convicted of non-violent crimes, many just first-time offenders.

In 2010, the National Women’s Law Center and the Rebecca Project for Human Rights released the Mothers Behind Bars report¹, which examined 3 main aspects in the care of incarcerated women; prenatal care, the routine shackling of laboring women, and alternative incarceration programs. The report afforded a “grade” to individual states in each of the 3 areas, based on each state’s policies. Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprising to many, 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia were afforded failing grades overall (when the 3 grades were averaged); 22 were given a C grade, and 7 a B; one state was given an A- (Pennsylvania). Consider just some of these startling facts from the report:

  • 48 states do not offer pregnant women screening for HIV
  • 22 states either have no policy at all addressing when restraints can be used on pregnant women, or have a policy which allows for the use of dangerous leg irons or waist chains
  • As far as offering family-based treatment as an alternative to incarceration, 17 states received a failing grade for not offering access to such treatment programs; 34 states do have alternative programs available
  • 38 states were afforded failing grades for not offering prison nurseries to newly delivered incarcerated mothers, which would facilitate at least some chance for mother-child bonding and attachment

If you are wondering how Tennessee fared, we received an F for prenatal care of incarcerated women, a D for shackling policies, and an A for family based alternative treatment programs, for an overall grade of C-.

In 2003, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment evaluated family residential treatment programs, and found the following of women who completed the programs:

  • 60% of the mothers remained completely clean and sober
  • Criminal arrests declined by 43%
  • 44% of the children were returned from foster care
  • 88% of the children treated in the programs with their mothers remained stabilized, six months after discharge
  • Employment rose from 7% before treatment to 37% post-treatment
  • Enrollment in educational and vocational training increased from 2% prior to treatment to 19% post treatment

The pregnant incarcerated woman is all too often “out of sight out of mind.” Thankfully, the history of midwifery includes providing care for the marginalized and underserved, including women behind bars. Midwives and doulas across the country, like the midwives of Baystate Midwifery and Women’s Health in Springfield, MA, provided much needed and deserved care to the female inmates of the Hampden County Correctional Center.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh said “the moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” As a society, we would do well to better nurture and midwife these new mothers among us, which will ultimately benefit both the mother and the child.

Michelle Collins PhD, CNM, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, Director Nurse-Midwifery Program, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursin

¹The complete Mothers Behind Bars report can be viewed at:  http://www.nwlc.org/resource/mothers-behind-bars-state-state-report-card-and-analysis-federal-policies-conditions-confin

Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.

Missed an episode? Watch full episodes for a limited time on NPT’s “Watch Now” Video Portal here.

`Call the Midwife` Recaps: Season 3: Episode 2

For the third season in-a-row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 30-May 18. Check in here every Monday morning for the next eight weeks for historical and contemporary context on the show, and some fun discussion. Plus, this year we’ll have the occasional bonus blog from across the pond to get the British perspective. So be sure to check the blog TWICE on Mondays. SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.

Ben (Christos Lawton), Thomas Short (Hasan Dixon) and Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine)

By Margaret Buxton MSN CNM

Margaret BuxtonAre we all happy for a new season of Call the Midwife? Yes, we are. I foolishly set out to watch every episode without crying. Mission not accomplished (again). The juxtaposition of the two mother’s stories was fascinating. Nellie (Faye Daveney) is a young, motherless, and hopeful girl looking at her birth experience through the lens of her loss – feeling terrified to do it without her mother. The other is Doris (Seline Hizli), a mature mother of three boys with an unintended pregnancy of a biracial child, conceived in adultery. Both come to their birth events with longing and both were met with the best that midwifery has to bring: presence. Neither birth proved to be easy for anyone involved. Nurse Lee (Jessica Raine) had the difficult task of taking the sweet daughter out of Doris’ arms to foster care, understanding the pain but in the same moment protecting this mother and baby’s safety (amidst real threats from the husband). She did the job of looking after the baby, but she stayed with Doris. She checked on her health, but she cared more for her emotions – helping her get out of the house and encouraging normal routines.

Nurse Miller (Bryony Hannah), excited by the innovative work of Grantly Dick-Read, helped young Nellie in what is probably the hardest way to give birth the first time: sunny-side up. You hear the midwife turn to her elder colleague and say, “She’s only 2 centimeters and she is OP.” Occiput Posterior (OP) means that the baby comes out “looking up” at the ceiling (most baby’s make their way out looking at the sheets with their faces down. Why does this matter? The baby’s bony skull is crashing against the bony part of Mom’s pelvis, the sacrum. This is very painful, slows labors down, and often leaves Mom with the urge to push long before her cervix is open. A long labor, increased back pain, and difficulty pushing the baby out is just the type of scenario that Grantly Dick-Read’s groundbreaking work was created for. He was moved by the women he saw giving birth consciously (remember wealthy women were “knocked out” with drugs like chloroform). He came to believe that fear and tension were the cause of agony in birth, and his book Childbirth Without Fear became the basis for the natural childbirth movement . Nellie’s tension and fear were made worse with not having the comfort of her mother there, but Nurse Miller understood that, helped her find her center, and celebrated a beautiful finale of a healthy baby boy.

I was very curious about the inclusion of the work of Dick-Read in this show. As we watch week to week, we take it as a given that all of these mothers are setting out to have natural childbirth. That was not the case. The truth is that they were too poor to afford to go to the hospital where drugs were offered to women of means. What the mothers of the East End did have were midwives who believed in them, and that is the most powerful labor drug of all.

Margaret Buxton, MSN CNM, is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, Instructor of Nursing, Vanderbilt School of Nursing and Clinical Practice Director, West End Women’s Health Center.

Read our Bonus British Perspective of this episode by Rachel Sykes here.

Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.

Missed an episode? Watch full episodes for a limited time on NPT’s “Watch Now” Video Portal here.

(Bonus British Perspective) `Call the Midwife` Recaps: Season 3: Episode 2

In addition to the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing guest blogging for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife — airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 30-May 18 — we are thrilled to have a bonus blogger. Rachel Sykes, who did a practicum at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing in the summer 0f 2013, is a registered midwife and graduate from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. She’s watched the show on the BBC and will provide a unique UK-perspective. She currently practices in a busy maternity unit in the Northwest of England. Read this week’s post by Margaret Buxton of Vanderbilt here.

SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.

Dr Robert Lantham (Roger Morlidge) and Cynthia Miller (Bryony Hannah)

By Rachel Sykes

Rachel Sykes HeadshotIt’s ‘handbags at dawn’* this week as the green eyed monster aka Trixie is present in Nonnatus House. Blonde bombshell Nurse Franklin (Helen George) is bitter about Jenny Lee’s (Jessica Raine) recent promotion to Sister, which she obviously thought she was in the pipeline for.  A workplace full of estrogen is never without challenges! ‘Sister Lee’ relishes in her new role, running a tight ship which is very reflective of the ‘old school’ nursing and midwifery sisters, so typical of the 1950s era. There are still some of these types of nurses and midwives around today which I admit, I love (though they often scare me!). These old- fashioned types are professional, direct, ‘stand no-nonsense’ and are all round excellent at their job. Here in the UK and particularly within the nursing profession, senior nurses are known as ‘Sisters,’ which must sound strange to some, given that religious nuns are also known by this term. This reminds me of the time I was in a maternity unit in Nashville wearing my student midwife uniform (knee length white dress) and I was mistaken for a nun! I put on my best British accent and declared that it was ‘much too late for me to be a nun,’ then trotted off thinking how pure I must look!

There are some comparisons between nuns and midwives, in the sense that they represent a unique sisterhood. Midwives have to maintain a strong support mechanism for each other as the working life of a midwife certainly has its peaks and troughs. Many midwives experience difficult times in their careers, during which their resilience is really put to the test.  Speaking of this, Jenny Lee is faced with the difficult task of caring for Mrs Aston (Seline Hizli) and her baby, fathered by a man with whom she had a brief affair. This is a difficult (and awkward!) situation for a midwife to be in the midst of. Having said that, a midwife’s role is to place women in the forefront of her care, at all times and without judgement. This can be challenging at times as it is natural to have our own personal views and beliefs about certain things. We are only human of course.

It must have been pretty refreshing for the midwives of Nonnatus House to listen to a male doctor so in tune with the process of normal birth and the psychological factors affecting it (although Sister Monica Joan was more interested in her ‘knit one, purl one, drop one, curl one’). Obstetricians often have opposing views to midwives as they are medically trained and differ in their philosophy. The midwifery ethos of care is to promote normality, caring for women from a holistic perspective. In the UK, obstetricians are only summoned when care falls outside of the midwife’s remit; when women experience complications. Many obstetricians in the UK have a good understanding of the midwifery model of care and often ask midwives for their opinions (which they love to give!).**

Sweet Nurse Miller (Bryony Hannah) who ‘wouldn’t say boo to a goose’ takes the reins and overrides Sister Evangelina’s (Pam Ferris) decision to transfer Nellie Short (Faye Daveney) to hospital. In any job, it takes courage to assert yourself over someone more experienced than you and this scene represents the strong midwife-mother relationship which is truly important for women. We see here the significance of listening to women and becoming familiar with not only their individual persona, but also their preferences and state of mind. In this instance, Nellie is dealing with the grief of losing her mother, contributing to her fear of birth which is likely to be exacerbated by her painful occipito-posterior (OP) labour, otherwise known as ‘back to back’ labour.  In some circumstances, a baby will deliver in the OP position, or ‘sunny side up’ as Sister Evangelina calls it. Midwives often see OP positions approaching term, some believe it to be due to our modern day culture as women may spend more time slouching back in armchairs rather than on their hands and knees doing the house work, as they may have done in years gone by. I often advise women with a baby in an OP position to make sure they maintain an upright and forward position, with the legs open to maximise the pelvic outlet (always handy when you have to get a 6-9lb human being through there). I tell them ‘remember U.F.O.’ No, not ‘Unidentified Flying Object’ but ‘Upright, Forward, Open!’ This position will give the best chance of getting the baby in the optimum position for labour and delivery. So remember ladies…U.F.O!

In this scene, we see Sister Evangelina preparing Pethidine, a type of opiate drug given by intramuscular injection, which is used less often now in the UK due to its sedating effects. It has been replaced with Diamorphine (an opiate based drug), which is widely used by women who find it to be effective analgesia. Midwives may administer this in the hospital, birth centre or even the home setting. Women tend to opt for this as it aids relaxation and can often reduce the need for an epidural, which in turn helps them to remain upright…..forward…..and open!

Rachel Sykes is a registered midwife and graduate from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

*Rachel occasionally throws in some British slang for us to parse. According to Wikipedia, “handbags at dawn,” is “… a fight where the protagonists are unable or unwilling to seriously hurt each … , in reference to the way girls fight by hitting each other with their handbags. Handbags at dawn is therefore a combination of the above with an allusion to ‘pistols at dawn‘ style dueling to describe a conflict brought about by a perceived slight or offense to one’s honour but which is nevertheless unlikely to result in any serious injury.

**From Michelle Collins at Vanderbilt School of Nursing: “While physicians in the UK view midwifery care as the norm for the obstetric care of the majority of women in the UK, most US physicians have had little to no exposure to working with midwives. In the US, physician care for the majority of women has been the norm for decades, but the tide is turning on that. “

Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.

Missed an episode? Watch full episodes for a limited time on NPT’s “Watch Now” Video Portal here.

Nashville: 20th Century in Photographs Rebroadcast in Tribute to Gail Kerr

(Photo: George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN)

(Photo: George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN)

When Gail Kerr, Nashville native and longtime columnist for the Tennessean, died on March 25, the city lost a great champion, and journalism lost a great advocate for truth and honesty. At NPT, we lost a great friend and supporter, and when it came to some of our productions, a vivid storyteller. She was most recently one of those interviewed for Volume 4 of our Nashville: 20th Century in Photographs documentary, which we’ll be re-broadcasting tonight, Friday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. in her memory. It will be shown without membership drive breaks, in its entirety.

Producer Justin Harvey offered this remembrance.

When I started making my wish list of people to interview for this project, the first name that came to mind was Gail Kerr. She loved this city and expressed that love with great eloquence and passion. That was the spirit that I wanted to capture with this program. I actually met Gail a few years ago when I interviewed her for Memories of Opryland. Gail grew up in the Donelson area and did a fantastic job expressing the joy and love that so many had for that wonderful piece of Nashville’s past. She was always kind and generous and her husband, Les, has been a long-time, faithful volunteer here at the station, so her ties here were deep. The program, a testament to the growth of Nashville and the fortitude of those who love it and built it, now also stands as a tribute to this wonderful woman who has meant so much to so many.

Aging Matters Screening and Luncheon at FiftyForward

NPTreports AgingMatters

Nashville Public Television and FiftyForward  will host a luncheon and preview screening of NPT’s new documentary NPT Reports: Aging Matters – Overview on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at FiftyForward Knowles, Patricia Hart Building, 174 Rains Ave. Nashville, Tenn. 37203.  Lunch will be provided, and panel discussion will follow the screening. Attendees must RSVP at events@fiftyforward.org or by calling (615) 743-3400.

FF logo 300 dpi no space aroundAbout Aging Matters: Overview:

There’s never been a better time to grow old. Americans are living longer and healthier lives than did previous generations. But this long life will bring challenges. HOsted by Grammy Award winning artist Kathy Mattea, Aging Matters: Overview, will explore the changing face of aging and what our community faces as the baby boomer generation grows the over 65 population to unprecedented numbers. What does it take to keep loved ones in their homes as long as possible? Do we have the housing and transportation to meet their needs? How will the medical system be tested by the increased longevity and the complex needs of seniors? Who will care for those with physical and cognitive limitations? Aging Matters: Overview premieres on NPT on Friday, April 25 at 8:00 p.m. CDT.

Back by popular demand, the following panel of experts (who earlier this spring presented to Leadership Nashville participants) will discuss the topics raised in Aging Matters.

Rev. Dr. Richard H. Gentzler, Jr. – Adjunct faculty member for the School of TransformAging at Lipscomb University.

Adrienne Newman, MSSW, LAPSW – FiftyForward Associate Executive Director and Director Living at Home Services

Rebecca Kelly – AARP Tennessee State Director

The panel will be moderated by Vickie Harris, Executive Director of LeadingAgeTennessee and Chief Customer and Product Officer at QEC Partners.

Aging Matters is made possible by the generous support of  Cigna Healthspring, the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

 

`Call the Midwife` Recaps: Season 3: Episode 1

For the third season in-a-row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 30-May 18. Check in here every Monday morning for the next eight weeks for historical and contemporary context on the show, and some fun discussion. Plus, this year we’ll have the occasional bonus blog from across the pond to get the British perspective. So be sure to check the blog TWICE on Mondays. SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.

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By Michelle Collins PhD, CNM

Michelle Collins

Like many of you, I eagerly curled up on the couch to watch this long anticipated first episode of season three. I confess, I have missed my Call the Midwife fix. I think that all midwives can identify with Chummy (Miranda Hart) in this episode. Her struggle to be content as a wife and mother, while attempting to squelch the aching call to be working as a midwife, was one that I know many a midwife has struggled with as well. Midwifery is a calling much more than it is a career or an occupation … I know many midwives will be nodding their heads in agreement when I say that if we weren’t paid to do what we do, we would probably offer to pay for the privilege of being able to be midwives (shhh… don’t let our employers hear that!)

To have the privilege of walking with women through such crucial times in their lives is just that – a privilege. Every time we receive a new life into our hands, or empower a woman with her own healthcare decisions, or even in the very saddest of times, when we have to tell a woman that the life inside her has been stilled – it is a privilege, and one we feel called to, at that. Thankfully women no longer have to choose between being wife and mother and answering the callings of our hearts.

Another aspect I loved from this episode was Sister Monica Joan’s (Judy Parfitt) part in the diagnosis of the child with cystic fibrosis. She is, admittedly, my favorite cast character (I suspect I am not alone in that). Two thoughts came to me from her part of the storyline. First was the fount of wisdom those like Sister Monica Joan are for the rest of us. The older I get, the more I value those mentors who I count on as my own “wise women;” those who have spent years accumulating wisdom – that is, the kind that is not able to be retrieved from books. Second, it reminded me of the importance of the “wisdom of the ages.” I am referring to the cystic fibrosis diagnostic information that Sister Monica Joan uncovered in one of her antique books, which all around her wanted to dismiss. How often in medicine, and in particular childbirth, do we find that there is a “latest and greatest” way to approach it? Some new guideline or method or tool to “improve” on what women have instinctively been doing for thousands of years (and doing a pretty fine job at I might add). Women see it as progress, for example, to choose the day that their child will be born (either by undergoing elective cesarean section or induction of labor). In reality, doing so negates every physiologic, biologic, and psychological instinct and process that women and their babies have relied on for centuries in order to birth successfully.

“Just as a women’s heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.” – Virginia Di Orio

I think I know what Sister Monica Joan would have to say about that …

Michelle Collins PhD, CNM, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, Director Nurse-Midwifery Program, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Read our Bonus British Perspective of this episode by Rachel Sykes here.

Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.

Missed an episode? Watch full episodes for a limited time on NPT’s “Watch Now” Video Portal here.

(Bonus British Perspective) `Call the Midwife` Recaps: Season 3: Episode 1

In addition to the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing  guest blogging for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife — airing on Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7:00 p.m. Central, March 30-May 18 — we are thrilled to have a bonus blogger.  Rachel Sykes, who did a practicum at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing in the summer 0f 2013,  is a registered midwife and graduate from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. She’s watched the show on the BBC and will provide a unique UK-perspective. She currently practices in a busy maternity unit in the Northwest of England. Read this week’s post by Michelle Collins of Vanderbilt here.

SPOILER ALERT: Some posts may contain spoilers, so please be aware of that.

Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) in clinical room

By Rachel Sykes

Rachel Sykes HeadshotWith the classic opening one-liner of ‘here we bloody go again,’ the old chestnut midwives hear time and time again (I am sure there are many expert labourers reading this that will have blurted it out once or twice), the new series of Call the Midwife is upon us.  The women of Great Britain batten down the hatches on the cold winter weather, with their cups of tea in hand and cookie at the ready … to dunk of course! Men are banished to the garden shed for an hour, or escape to watch the latest Manchester United v Liverpool game (please excuse the stereotyping). It’s once again raining babies in London’s East End.

For those of you who are new to this sweet, nostalgic drama, Call the Midwife paints a rather romantic picture of cake-loving, bicycle-riding London midwives who work alongside a group of nuns at Nonnatus House, Poplar. As my mother would say in her broadest Lancashire accent ‘life was more simple back then, love.’ She agrees that the series depicts a true representation of life in 1950’s Britain. My Grandma would often leave my mother alone outside a grocery store in her pram (stroller) and children would get up to mischief, playing in the streets without a parent in sight. Vintage Britain was generally a simpler and all round, safer place to live.

The Nonnatus midwives provide a model of care known as ‘caseload midwifery.’ This is becoming popular again in Britain, as continuity of care has been proven to have a positive effect on women and has been associated with good birth outcomes. Caseload midwifery means that midwives really get to know the women and their families they care for, in a truly holistic sense. As we see in the show, the midwives are known figures in the Poplar community and are often acknowledged in the street (ever so typical of polite Britain!). The midwives really get to know about the families and lives of the women they care for. Sometimes the way forward, is to look back.

The wildly eccentric and ever hilarious Sister Monica Joan (Judy Parfitt) is true to form this week. The feisty silver haired nun diagnoses the child’s mystery illness as Cystic Fibrosis (CF), quick to be dismissed by Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter). The lesson to be learned here … always consider the opinion of those who have been around a lot longer than you.  Experienced midwives are a personal pocket bible for the newly qualified midwives. As a new midwife myself, I often find myself asking for advice and opinions from my peers, as their knowledge and intuition is often worth its weight in gold. Nowadays the diagnosis of CF is more conclusive, all parents are offered screening for their babies at 5 days old, which is usually done by taking a small amount of blood from the baby’s heel. (Ed. note from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s Michelle Collins: In the US, pregnant women are offered screening for CF during pregnancy).

Jenny Lee (Jessica Raine) shows increasing concern for Merle (Gemma Salter), the mother of the two children with CF, as she suspects Merle is suffering from postnatal depression (PND). During my early twenties, I experienced severe depression and cannot imagine what it would be like to care for a newborn baby when the darkness descends.  Back in the 1950s, it is likely that many health professionals were less aware of PND as they are now. Years ago, British people would fear being sent away to a psychiatric hospital only to be pumped with sedating medication and labelled ‘round the bend,’ should they find themselves in the grip of a mental disorder.  I am pleased to say it is very different now. I am hopeful that in the UK, midwives and doctors are successful in detecting PND early and that woman are not fearful of expressing how they feel.

‘Bally, Bally Botherations’ Chummy (Miranda Hart) is clearly driving herself crazy with botched home cooking and cross-stitched scatter cushions. She longs to return to work as a Poplar midwife. As many a midwife would agree, the job often becomes a fundamental part of you. A midwife’s day to day work is both truly unpredictable and privileged at the same time. The expression on Chummy’s face as she resolves the difficult delivery known as a ‘shoulder dystocia,’ probably struck a chord with many a midwife, nurse, paramedic or anyone who has ever helped anyone in a moment of need. A feeling of pride, courage and exhilaration (and relief!).  It is moments like that which make you take great pride in your profession.

The desire to return to work may be stronger for some women than for others.  Women should never feel guilty about wanting to go back to work or to stay at home, they should simply do what is best for themselves and their family. The UK seems to take a family-centered approach, with women able to take up to one year’s maternity leave and fathers allowed 2 weeks paid paternity leave after the birth of their child.

Rachel Sykes is a registered midwife and graduate from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Missed our analysis of the Previous Season’s Episodes? Read them here.

Missed an episode? Watch full episodes for a limited time on NPT’s “Watch Now” Video Portal here.

Win a Three-Pack of Farmer Jason Tickets at the Belcourt Theatre

farmer_jason

Farmer Jason – everyone’s favorite Scorcher-turned-children’s entertainer and educator – is playing the Belcourt Theater on March 29 at 10am, and we’ve got two sets of three tickets to give away. All you have to do to be entered is tweet this phrase: “Hey! I’m an @npt8 buckaroo and want to see #FarmerJason @Belcourt.” Be sure to tweet is just like that and include the #FarmerJason so we can pick it up on Twitter. We’ve made it easy for you, too. Just click this link.

We’ll announce the winner on Thursday morning, March 27  at 10 a.m.

If you don’t want to wait to see if you win, you can get your tickets online now and learn more about Farmer Jason and the show at belcourt.org or call (615) 846-3150. Farmer Jason’s shows sell out fast. Get your tickets now!

It’s going to be a music concert for the whole family, with proceeds benefiting Nashville Public Television – your place for reliable and educational children’s programming and engagement. Tickets are $9.

The Belcourt Theatre is located at:

2102 Belcourt Avenue – Nashville TN 37212

Venue/Date Change: `Let the Fire Burn` Joins Community Cinema During Nashville Film Fest

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Update. This post was update on 3/27 to reflect a change in date and venue from NPT Studio A to Regal Green Hills Theatre 14.

A special screening of Let the Fire Burn, a 2014 Independent Spirit Award Winner, has been added to the Community Cinema schedule on Tuesday, April 22 at 11:30 a.m. as part of the 2014 Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) presented by Nissan. The screening gives NaFF attendees a bonus free option. The screening will take place at Regal Green Hills Cinemas in Theatre 14. Those wishing to attend the screening, even with a NaFF laminate, must RSVP at http://communitycinemastudioA.eventbrite.com.

About the film.

Let the Fire Burn
(Jason Osder / USA)
On May 13, 1985, a longtime feud between the city of Philadelphia and controversial radical urban group MOVE came to a deadly climax. By order of local authorities, police dropped military-grade explosives onto a MOVE-occupied rowhouse. TV cameras captured the conflagration that quickly escalated — and resulted in the tragic deaths of eleven people (including five children) and the destruction of 61 homes. It was only later discovered that authorities decided to “…let the fire burn.” Using only archival news coverage and interviews, first-time filmmaker Jason Osder has brought to life one of the most tumultuous and largely forgotten clashes between government and citizens in modern American history. Winner, Truer Than Fiction Award, 2014 Independent Spirit Awards.

 Community Cinema 
In Partnership with Nashville Public Television and ITVS
Tuesday, April 22 at 11:30 am
Regal Green Hills Cinemas Theatre 14
Discussion to Follow

RSVP for tickets at http://communitycinemastudioA.eventbrite.com.