Pinay ER nurse among featured 'frontline heroes' in US documentary

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Oct 14 2020 12:57 AM | Updated as of Oct 14 2020 12:00 PM

Even before the pandemic, emergency nurses have been saving lives on the frontlines.

On "Emergency Nurses Day" on Oct. 14, Wednesday, award-winning filmmaker Carolyn Jones will take viewers from their homes to emergency departments across the US with her latest documentary, “In Case of Emergency”, that gives a closer look on the emergency patient care only ER nurses provide around the clock.

"Everything that happens in our society is reflected in the emergency department and I was really captured by that. You know everything from the opioid crisis, gun violence to behavioral health issues, it's all there," Jones said.

Pinay ER nurse among featured 'frontline heroes' in US documentary 1
Courtesy of In Case of Emergency website

For two years, she and her crew filmed at emergency departments from the US East Coast to the west –– before the coronavirus pandemic hit in earlier this year. 

The health crisis brought them to St. Joseph’s hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, and captured real life emergency stories not often seen on TV.

"I feel like I was a fly on the wall. I think it does give you a lot of insight into these topics that we're talking about you know and not just COVID and how that affected the nursing population, but also the lack of health insurance in our country," Jones said.

Among the nurses featured in this powerful look at emergency nursing is Janine Llamzon, a Filipino nurse at the helm of COVID patient care at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

"I realized that we've come a long way and no matter how difficult that was -- we, you know, there was a beacon of light. The beacon of light is the continued teamwork and collaboration we have in this emergency department," said Llamzon, systems director of nursing and clinical Operations in St. Joseph's Hospital.

Jones had praises for Llamzon.

"I think I would want to go work for Janine honestly... with such a profound amount of purpose and I'm really struck by that, I really believe with all my heart that... there's guidance here for us, as in America, to turn to this group of people for guidance," Jones said.

The 2020 Emergency Nurses Week theme is "Heart of Gold", which health advocates have said is exactly what the world needs now during these extraordinary times.

"I don't know what will happen in 2021 but what I do know is that I and my team and the emergency nurses are unstoppable. We will rise despite the challenges and we will stand with our patients," Llamzon said.

The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) will be streaming “In Case of Emergency” for free for a limited time. 

Register to watch the documentary on Oct. 14.