Hearing Our Voices: A Descriptive Process of Using Film for Anti-racist Action in Nursing





Nurse activism, anti-racism, unlearning, arts-based teaching, education


Racism in healthcare is real and it impacts nurses in ways that permeate the culture of healthcare. In the context of increasing social discourse about racism in healthcare, a group of nurses in British Columbia, Canada, felt a moral obligation to expose the social injustice of the systemic racism they had witnessed or experienced. They used film, an arts-based medium, as an innovative tool with the potential to reach an array of viewers, for this nurse activist project in anti-racist action. The creative process allowed for a racially diverse group of nurses to engage in meaningful dialogue about racism in healthcare. The purpose of this descriptive methodological article is to describe how a creative team of novice nurse filmmakers used the nursing process as a framework to carry this project from concept to execution. The stages described include the rationale for developing the film, the process of utilizing this as a means of nurse activism, and the value of using film as a strategy for social activism. Film was used to engage nurses and nursing students in anti-racist work that critically challenges the structural racism embedded in healthcare. We request that all readers view our film in conjunction with reading this article to best grasp how this article and the film complement one another because the film and article are intended to co-exist and not to exist in isolation from one another.




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Author Biographies

Michelle Danda, University of Alberta

Michelle Danda is a doctoral nursing student at the University of Alberta. She is a mother of four young children and a full-time informatics nurse. She identifies as a person of colour, with one of her parents immigrating to Canada, her mother from the Philippines, and her father a refugee from the former Czechoslovakia. Both of her patients were born during World War II. She grew up in the 1980s and 1990s in Southern Ontario and Southern Alberta. She has previously contributed to the conversation of racism in healthcare in contributions to the Canadian Nurse and Opinion Editorial pieces to local newspapers. Her partner is Metis and her children identify as Indigenous and Filipino Canadians. Her nursing career began in 2008, with focus in mental health and substance use.   

Claire Pitcher, UBC

Claire is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Alberta (2009), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (2011) and a Master of Science in Nursing (2017) from UBC. She is also a UBC School of Nursing Adjunct Faculty member. She has worked in the areas of public health, sexual and reproductive health, vaccine research, clinical teaching, and youth concurrent disorders. Claire is a descendant of English and Irish settlers who settled on Beothuk and Mi’kmaq territories, respectively. Claire currently lives on Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh territory. Claire is committed to applying an anti-racist and anti-oppression lens to every aspect of her personal and professional life while also acknowledging her ongoing process of learning and unlearning as it relates to addressing the ways in which she, as a descendant of White settlers, has benefited from and been complicit in upholding racism, discrimination, and oppression throughout her life.

Jessica Key, AKALA Society

Jessica Key, BN, RN, is a citizen of the Musgamakw Dzawada’enuxw Nations as well as a settler of British and Irish origin. She is a registered nurse who currently works as an Indigenous patient care clinician, where her work is focused on increasing adoption of Indigenous cultural safety in acute care settings, anti-racism and decolonization in health care, and supporting and advocating for Indigenous clients and families. She is currently completing a master of science in nursing at the University of British Columbia, and is also a founder and director of Akala Society.


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How to Cite

Danda, M., Pitcher, C., & Key, J. (2022). Hearing Our Voices: A Descriptive Process of Using Film for Anti-racist Action in Nursing. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 4(1), 36–48. https://doi.org/10.25071/2291-5796.122