Filmmaker to Georgia nurses: ‘I am in such awe of what you do’

Combined ShapeCaption
Photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones was keynote speaker for this year's Celebrating Nurses awards luncheon.This is the 17th straight year The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has honored "the heart and soul of our community.".Co-hosts for the event were Monica Kaufman Pearson and AJC editor Kevin Riley.More than 800 nurses were nominated for this year's awards.Many of the nominees attended the awards ceremony at Cobb Galleria Centre

Carolyn Jones gives keynote address at The Atlanta Journal-Consitution’s Celebrating Nurses awards ceremony

“Maybe this one moment, with this one person, is the very reason we’re here on Earth at this time.”

That quote from nurse theorist Jean Watson was the theme of photographer and filmmaker Carolyn Jones’ keynote address at The Atlanta Journal-Consitution’s Celebrating Nurses awards ceremony Tuesday.

ExploreCelebrating Nurses 2022: See all the winners from this year's ceremony

Jones has focused the past decade of her career on amplifying nurses’ voices. She has been recognized for her contributions to the profession with an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts, as well as honorary induction into Sigma Theta Tau and the Academy of Emergency Nursing.

“I can’t imagine a better time to celebrate nurses than right now,” Jones told a packed ballroom Tuesday. “And I have to tell you, I am in such awe of what you do. Over the last 12 years I’ve had the privilege to capture such moments of humanity and beauty that it takes my breath away.”

Jones said she is grateful to be able to view the world through the lens of nurses — people who give selflessly for a cause that might not be their own.

“I know that this is a celebratory day for you, and I won’t spend too much time on COVID. But I think it’s really important that we acknowledge and recognize what you’ve been through and how dramatic it’s really been,” she said. “I don’t think we could have ever imagined that we’d still be going through this.”

When the pandemic hit, Jones and her crew were nearly finished with a project titled, “In Case of Emergency,” in which they were capturing footage in emergency rooms across the country. “The idea being that what’s going on in the country is reflected in our emergency departments” she said.

She decided to return to one emergency room to capture what the staff faced as one COVID patient after another began arriving.

ExploreAtlanta Journal-Constititution celebrates nurses for 17th straight year

“The innovation and the creativity that came forward during this time is just amazing,” Jones said. “I mean, I watched them turn a waiting room into a treatment room overnight.”

She also shared stories of how nurses’ simple acts of kindness or words of hope made all the difference to their patients — in one instance even helping a drug-addicted young man turn his life around and begin helping others.

“I think it’s important that we acknowledge all of you for everything that you’ve done to get us through this period of time,” Jones concluded, “and I do hope that you take time to care for yourselves.”

For more content like this, sign up for the Pulse newsletter here.

Read more about the nurses honored at this year’s ceremony:

Shannan Browning, Piedmont Healthcare

Lauren DePietro, Wellstar Kennestone Hospital

Sarah Harper, Wellstar Cobb Hospital

Rose Horton, Emory Healthcare

Damar Lewis, Northside Hospital Duluth

Gina Papa, Clarkston Community Health Center

Deepa Patel, Wellstar Shared Services

Andrew Perea, Kaiser Permanente

Cherish Ramirez, Piedmont Healthcare

Julie Singleton, Northeast Georgia Health System

Denise Ray, Piedmont Healthcare: Nurse Leader Award