The American Nurse Project

The Subjects

Confronted with a U.S. population that is growing, aging and facing deteriorating health, these 5 fearless nurses serve on the frontlines of healthcare, navigating their patients through birth, death, prison, war and harsh poverty.
 

Sister Stephen

One day Sister Stephen brought a baby goat home from a pet store to the Villa Loretto Nursing Home in Wisconsin, where she is the Director of Nursing, and soon there was a full menagerie of domesticated and exotic animals including cows, sheep, llamas, alpaca and recently monkeys. Her ingenious plan was to provide animal therapy for the residents, but also to keep families engaged and together by building a virtual petting zoo that makes all the grandkids want to come visit.

 

Brian McMillion

Brian was on an uncertain path when at age 19 his father gave him 2 choices: “Go to college or enlist in the military. Except you’re not ready for college.” He spent time oversees where he was the first person that wounded soldiers would see when they woke up, often missing limbs and suffering from PTSD, wanting only to go back to their brothers in combat.

Naomi Cross

As a teenager, Naomi Cross watched the nurses of Johns Hopkins care for her childhood sweetheart as he fought and lost a battle with leukemia. She now works as a Labor and Delivery nurse at Hopkins, where most of her days are filled with the joy of helping to bring new life into the world. When things don’t go as planned, Naomi also serves as a bereavement counselor, pulling from her own experience of loss to counsel a family when their baby dies.

Jason Short

Born and bred in one of the poorest rural counties in the United States, Jason Short was a mechanic and truck driver who has now transitioned from fixing cars to fixing people. He spends his days forging into the remote hollows of Eastern Kentucky, helping his patients in their battles with cancer, diabetes, and black lung disease. Caring for a region plagued by poverty, drug addiction, industrial pollution and more, Jason is intimately acquainted with a part of America few ever see.

Tonia Faust

With a mother who worked in security at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, Tonia Faust grew up in the shadow of a maximum-security prison. She started working as a nurse and ended up following her mother’s path to Angola, where she now directs the hospice program. Tonia oversees a team of inmates who volunteer to care for their dying peers with a compassion and grace one would not expect to find behind bars.