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CU Nursing Hosts First-Ever Virtual Film Festival

Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date April 14, 2020

The nationwide novel Coronavirus pandemic was the impetus for CU Nursing’s Virtual Film Festival and “Fireside chat”. Consisting of four documentaries/videos over five weeks, the Festival was the brainchild of alumna and former faculty member Sue Hagedorn (PhD ‘95).

Similar to a book club, participants are encouraged to watch the videos the week before the live chat, which is scheduled on Sundays at 3 p.m. MST (with the exception of Easter). Participants register for the chat and are sent a link to Zoom and then participate on the scheduled day and time.

“The festival is evolving,” said Dr. Hagedorn. “Our initial thought was to offer up three to four documentaries for participants to watch and then come back once a week to discuss. However, if we get a good response, who knows? We might continue.”

An Idea Blossoms into Film Festival

Hagedorn, a documentary filmmaker, and principal of Seedworks Films contacted Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, PhD, RN, and proposed the idea mid-March. Many of Hagedorn’s films highlight nurses and spotlight the University of Colorado College of Nursing and its impact on nursing throughout the state and country.

The Dean jumped on the idea, “I loved the concept of bringing people together virtually to discuss what makes this College great, and also provide our community with the opportunity to connect and reconnect during this period of isolation.”

With assistance from marketing, alumni relations, human resources, and advancement, the Festival came together very quickly with the first film “A Legacy of Innovation: A History of the University of Colorado College of Nursing” and chat occurring April 5. Dr. Hagedorn guest hosted and was joined by special guests and former Dean and Living Legend Jean Watson, PhD, (BSN ‘64, MS ’66) and Ginny Pepper (BSN ‘68, PhD ’85). The documentary highlighted many firsts of the College including the invention of the Nurse Practitioner Program, the CU Center for Human Caring and Watson’s Caring Science Theory, as well as nurse-led clinics.

Bringing together more than 35 participants, the April 5th chat provided alumni, faculty, retired faculty, students and staff to connect on an entirely different level than ever before. Reconnection and remembrance were themes that resonated. Current leadership including Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez joined in on the conversation, linking the past and present.

What was it about Colorado and the College that Led to Innovations?

One participant’s question elicited interesting responses from the attendees. 

The question posed was -- “What was it about Colorado and the College that made CU Nursing so innovative?” Dr. Pepper’s response summed up the group’s views well, “I think our pioneering spirit and being in the West had a lot to do with the College’s trailblazing mentality. The culture and attitude of taking ideas and running with them are still in existence today.” Dr. Watson concurred and added, “There was a culture of vision, opportunity, and support. It wasn’t authoritarian. It was an open system for innovation.” Building on those answers, Amy Barton, PhD, RN, added, “I believe the synergistic open space that Jean mentioned still exists today. We have the space here in Colorado and have benefited from that. I stood on the shoulders of giants.”

Assistant Professor and Senior Director of Experiential Learning Teams Fara Bowler, DNP, commented that “This has been delightful. I loved watching the video and seeing the rich history.” She continued the thread by asking for guiding wisdom from past leaders -- especially during this time of crisis.

For Watson, the pandemic is “is an opportunity to seize this moment, honor the profession and take it forward. It is a moment for nursing. So many people are understanding what nurses do and human caring theory is key.”  

Next Film Includes a Chat with Living Legend Loretta Ford

Join us for the next film in the series --  “Loretta Ford: A Disruptive Innovator”. Make sure to watch the film BEFORE Sunday, April 19, 2020, at 3 p.m. MST. Our special guest for the live chat is Dr. Ford herself!

Mark your calendar to participate in the upcoming films and chats:

  • April 19 -- Loretta Ford: Disruptive Innovator. Chat with Dr. Loretta Ford
  • April 26 -- Caring for Colorado Advanced Practice Nurses. Chat with Karen Zink, MS, and Dixie Melton, MS
  • May 3 -- Nurstories. Five tales highlighting Colorado nurses. Chat with Daniel Weinschenker, MSW, MA