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About this work


A film showing modern techniques of psychiatric nursing, designed to create a more informed public opinion and wider interest in this branch of nursing. It provides an inside view of life in the wards of Moorhaven hospital and Plymouth Nuffield Clinic.


UK : Samaritan, 1969.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (27.15 min.) : sound, color



Copyright note

Crown copyright, managed by BFI.

Terms of use

Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales

Language note

In English

Creator/production credits

Written and directed by Brigit Barry, photographed by Peter Jessop, edited by Terence Twigg and produced by Anne Balfour-Frase. A Samaritan production. Title backgrounds painted by psychiatric patients.


This video was made from material preserved by the BFI National Archive


Segment 1 A group of elderly women wait to have their make-up done by a nurse. A male narrator says that nearly half the hospital beds in the UK are occupied by psychiatric patients. A young man who is a patient talks about his history; he could hear voices and his perception was strange. Another man talks frankly about his alcohol abuse. An elderly man explains that he hears voices. The narrator talks about the public's perception of psychiatric patients and how mental illness places a strain on families and can be disabling to individuals. An outpatient unit is seen. A female narrator describes the facilities. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:05:12:12 Length: 00:05:12:12
Segment 2 The narrator discusses the friendly atmosphere of the day hospital as a group of elderly men arrive on a mini-bus for the day. A music therapy and exercise class is seen. A group of elderly people make jewellery, knit and weave baskets as a woman is heard talking about her nervous breakdown. A hairdresser visits and does the ladies' hair. The clinic staff meet to discuss the patients. Time start: 00:05:12:12 Time end: 00:09:52:20 Length: 00:04:40:08
Segment 3 The staff meeting discusses one of the cases at the clinic. A nurse is heard in voiceover talking about reintegrating back into society and how encouraging this is part of the nurses' work. More occupational therapy such as woodwork and basket weaving is seen. A male patient is heard talking about the need to accept oneself. An inpatient unit at a psychiatric hospital is seen. A young woman is arriving for a 6-week voluntary stay. Her social worker is heard talking about how the girl appears very calm and collected, showing that people with mental illness often do not appear stereotypically 'troubled'. The girl is shown around the ward and the senior nurse talks to her mother. The girl and mother talk at her bed. Time start: 00:09:52:20 Time end: 00:14:49:22 Length: 00:04:47:02
Segment 4 Nurses give out drugs to the patients. Group discussion therapy is seen. Various patients and staff talk about the ward. Two patients disagree with each other and one leaves the room. A narrator explains how important it is for nurses to spend time on the ward with the patients. Nurses and patients play indoor skittles and more woodwork classes are seen. Time start: 00:14:49:22 Time end: 00:19:54:20 Length: 00:05:04:23
Segment 5 An elderly woman in bed chats to a nurse about her children. Nursing training classes are seen, with nurses practising lifting patients and organising hospital trolleys. A staff nurse in training talks about how one day he wishes to be a tutor. A nurse social is seen; the nurses dance to rock music. Time start: 00:19:54:20 Time end: 00:23:36:17 Length: 00:03:41:22
Segment 6 A folk band made up of nursing staff sing the folk song '500 miles' at the staff social. The film ends with scenes of nurses and patients interacting on the ward and nurses speaking in voiceover about how nursing is fulfilling and the importance of wanting to help other people. Time start: 00:23:36:17 Time end: 00:27:15:02 Length: 00:03:38:10



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