Image of Nursing in Nollywood: The Nurses Are Begging For Rescue

The nursing profession is serious business. I wonder why professional nurses are not complaining and helping to train nurses for Nollywood in a collaboration. Hollywood actors spend months getting into character. We may not have their budget but we can try

I am excited as any Nigerian, indeed any African about the strides Nollywood has made. In fact, Nigerians should beat their chests hard because we have the best actors and actresses, some of Africa’s leading Thespians. We are so good that many channels have been birthed off our films. While I am not necessarily jumping for joy for some of the names of the channels which play into the Africa voodoo narrative.

I am completely chuffed that the movies at least have multiple homes. Our long journey from when our first movies hit our home entertainment stations on DVD’S to when they began to appear on television has paid off.

Regarded as the world’s third largest movie industry, Nollywood has continued to stand tall while investing in collaborations across the West African sub region and internationally. Most of our leading actors are easily recognizable in any part of the continent and among the African diaspora and that is impressive.

However, as Nollywood continues to grow in leaps and bounds hitting over two decades in existence, we cannot act the ostrich. There are challenges no doubt but there is still so much that needs to be addressed.

Script for one. It is heartwarming to see various bodies including some international organizations like the World Bank take an interest in better screenplay for Nollywood movies. Scriptwriting needs a lot of improvement if the stories must have depth and compete internationally.

Then there is the issue of stock characters. Most Nollywood characters need to break the mound. All we have are the same bad guys, the same grandmothers, the same villains, the same prostitutes. Can we be versatile please and allow a bad guy to be the good guy sometimes? He may even be a better good guy.

There are several others that need intervention in order to make us world class but I would get to them going forward. But for now the one that is about to finally do me in which needs urgent intervention are the nurses. My late mum was a nurse, a very special one at that. I watched Mrs. Amodu dress up, uniform, cap, and stopwatch in place. Always impeccable

A stop watch on her left breast pocket, flat shoes and functional earrings. It was always such a pleasure to watch her at work. I have accompanied her to work many times. I admired all the nurses who worked with her.

They empathized, they were courteous and they spoke soothingly. But for my squeamishness, I may have considered becoming a nurse.

While today’s nurses may not carry the baton as well as my mother’s generation, there are still some stellar nurses to emulate. I know things are shabby everywhere in our customer service delivery but our Nollywood nurses certainly have to take the cake. They honestly depress me continuously. Their uniforms are completely off the mark, too big, too small, not smart, not there.

What about the acting? This has to be the shame of Nollywood, ranking no. 1 ahead of cheesy doctors and shabby policemen. I have asked myself many times where on earth the producers harvest the persons presented as nurses in their movies. They look lost, un-coordinated, unable to pronounce the basic nursing terminologies and totally bereft of the standard nurses outlook. They are the most confused in times of a medical crisis running between pillar and post. Also sometimes I think their role is to stand rooted to a spot, blanked out for a while when spoken to and then suddenly act like they were switched on by a button, then they come alive flailing their hands and driving me completely spare. Is it possible to hire better actors as nurses? Is it possible that one of any of the two nurses in a Nollywood movie can be sent to understudy a proper nurse to get their mannerism right and just get a sense of what it takes to be a nurse? Simple sentences befuddle them and directing instructions leave them rattled. What is it really that makes us deserve badly behaved persons and stupid acting fellows for the role of professional nurses? Every little thing counts. The fact that Mike Ezuronye and Kate Hens haw are in the movie does not make up for a bad nurse.

Please take note Nollywood directors and producers. We can see poorly cast nurses, which can make us switch off your movie. I know what a good nurse should be like, my mother was one. And I am not the only one who notices. Everyone else who has ever seen a proper nurse including ten year olds can see. We deserve better. Don’t use your cousin who came visiting and has no acting chops as a nurse and do not use your neighbor’s daughter just as a favor to your neighbor. The nursing profession is serious business, so are doctors and policemen. I wonder why professional nurses are not complaining and helping to train nurses for Nollywood in a collaboration. Hollywood actors spend months getting into character. We may not have their budget but we can try. One more left legged nurse and I cannot take responsibility for my action.
by Eugenia Abu
Business Day

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