Frontier Nursing Service (Film)

Frontier Nursing Service

  •  Anne Lewis
  •  1984
  • Color IconColor
  •  28:34
  •  3/4" U-matic video
Film Description
How do you provide accessible, affordable, and competent health care for a rural population? That's a question we still ask today, but in 1925 the answer was Mary Breckinridge's Frontier Nursing Service, which she founded to bring nurse-midwives to Hyden, Kentucky. The Frontier Nursing Service established outpost nursing centers that provided primary health care over 700 square miles of mountain terrain, growing into a hospital that today serves one of the few training programs for nurse-midwives in the entire country. In Frontier Nursing Service, comments by Betty Lester, one of the first nurse-midwives, are intercut with scenes from The Forgotten Frontier, a 1930 film about FNS which was made by Breckinridge’s cousin, Mrs. Marvin Breckinridge Patterson. In this rarely-seen film, nurse-midwives race on horseback through the wooded hills to deliver babies, treat gunshot victims, and innoculate schoolchildren.

Screenings & Festivals
  • Kentucky Educational Television
  • Blue Ridge Public Television
  • WSWP/Beckley, WV
  • WSJK/Knoxville

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“A delightful portrait of the Frontier Nursing Service as it was in its infancy … equally interesting is the pictorial history of the people and culture of rural Eastern Kentucky during the early 20th century.” — Now and Then Magazine
“A wonderful montage of actual footage and recent interviews.” — Rush University
“Outstanding! A most effective way to introduce the dynamics of the region.” — Berea College