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What if your mission statement was a motion picture? 

Attention spans are brief today, which is why meaningful work, when we see it, can draw us in like a beautiful campfire, compelling us to sit and stay a while. And when your mission is addressing racism in healthcare, it’s a conversation you have to make engaging enough for people to sit and listen to. 

That latest story we’ve ignited is “Everybody’s Work: Healing What Hurts Us All,” a new documentary from SHIFT Nursing, created by BPD in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The film examines systemic racism by not only exposing the biases that result in worse healthcare outcomes for people of color, but also capturing the painful impact they have — both on patients and nurses. It had its first private screening at the end of Nurses Week at the historic Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C. to a room full of 200 nurses, healthcare leaders, the film crew, and their families and friends.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in the film’s creation since its earliest stages,” writes Beth Toner in her reflection on this project on LinkedIn. “And yet I was still profoundly impacted by seeing these stories brought to life on a large screen and hearing folks in the Howard Theatre respond to them. In a time when nursing as a profession feels exhausted and burnt out, hearing nurses cheer for their fellow fearless nurses -- well, it was just a reminder that we need to be in the fight for justice together, and that we need to fight for each other.”

Production on “Everybody’s Work” began in the fall of 2022 and we filmed in the late summer and fall of 2023. This was after the release of a RWJF survey on racism in nursing in 2022 that documented how widespread racism continued to be across the academic and professional environments for nurses. Coming off of the release of SHIFT Nursing’s first film “Who Cares: A Nurse’s Fight for Equity” in 2022, we were actively searching for our next story to communicate the importance of a nurse’s role in fighting for health equity. At the same time, RWJF was also shifting its focus from broader health equity efforts to a more explicit disruption of structural racism across the healthcare system. 

The BPD SHIFT Films team – led by BPD Account Strategist and Executive Producer Desiree Duncan – and film production crew – led by the film’s Director Chad Tingle – traveled across the country, shooting in locations in California, Oklahoma, D.C., Connecticut, Washington, and New York to capture a diverse range of stories that highlight not only the widespread nature of racism within the nursing profession and its history, but also the ongoing movement of fearless nurses fighting to make a difference in this space. The film brings the viewer into this important and sometimes intimidating work by showcasing personal stories from nurses of color across academic institutions, health systems and national advocacy organizations.

Experiences within healthcare, nursing school, and at the bedside drastically differ for people of color compared to their white counterparts. But because healthcare remains a white-dominated field, those painful experiences largely go unaddressed. These biases result in worse healthcare outcomes for people of color and leave a painful impact on patients and nurses.

The film captures narratives that illustrate the profound effects of racial discrimination on nurses and patients while simultaneously reminding audiences that it takes each individual standing up in the spaces and places they’re in to make a difference on this issue and fight for health justice. A primary message throughout the film and surrounding campaign is that addressing racism is a collective responsibility, transcending individual professions and identities. 

The film is supported by a content-rich website that digs deeper into the issues discussed, organized across the three systems surrounding nurses: workplaces, academia, and institutions. The extended footage, landing pages, and subject bios outline tangible steps and resources that can help promote equity in healthcare, whether through education, advocacy, or supporting systemic changes. As the film reminds us, health justice is everybody’s work. 

“Too many people think the work of diversity, equity and inclusion is the work of my office. If you really think about it, the work of diversity, equity and inclusion — at least in nursing — should be everybody’s work,” said Monica R. McLemore, Ph.D., one of the film’s subjects, and professor and director of the Manning Price Spratlen Center for Anti-Racism and Equity in Nursing at the University of Washington.

Walking away from a film or campaign experience like this may leave you wondering how to translate that kind of work into the problems that your health system or organization are trying to solve for your patients or community. At that point I’d encourage you to ask yourself: What does your mission or vision look like when it’s expanded into a story with a beginning, middle, and end? If you had to draw a picture, what would it look like? What voices, imagery, places, and music would you capture? Our missions are often one line, but if that was fleshed out, what branches or roads would they take? And finally, where would you tell it? 

If you’re interested in hosting a screening of “Everybody’s Work” at your organization, check out the website to learn more, at

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