VitalsSchool of Nursing

Angel of Mercy

Editor’s Note: When Jeanette Vaughan, MSN, RN, (Nursing ’92) outlined her research thesis for her master’s degree at TTUHSC, she knew it was a risk. “I asked Nancy Ridenour (associate dean for education) what she thought of an adapted film screenplay for a research thesis,” Vaughan recalled. Ridenour said, “A screenplay? As in full length?” It was quite the involved process — panelists were brought in to review content and complete an evaluation. Vaughan won a research award for this work from the school, which proves you can combine two different passions to achieve a goal. The following is an excerpt from the screenplay written in 1992.
Nick is 28 years old. He’s dressed in a hard hat and blue uniform shirt with cut-off sleeves. The year 1973 marks his eighth sweltering summer driving a hot oil truck for W&T Oil Field Services. Driving a “rolling bomb,” as he calls it, is the most dangerous job in the oil field.

Suddenly, the noise of the truck is overpowered by the deafening sound of an explosion. Panic stricken, Nick looks up to see a huge mushroom cloud of fire and black smoke billowing upward.

By the time Nick reaches the scene, several paramedics are busily working on what is left of Joey, another hot oil truck operator. Nick watches, mesmerized by the skill of the rescuers…

After the accident the company begins laying off employees — Nick is one of them. He decides to apply to nursing school. Two months later he is selected to interview.

Dean: Well let’s get right to it. Why should I select you?

Nick: I need a job. I thought this would be a good start.

Dean: Nursing is much more than a job. What makes an oil field worker decide on nursing?

Nick: My mother was a nurse. I always wanted to go into medicine.

Angel Of Mercy
Provided by jeanette Vaughan
Jeanette Vaughan, MSN, RN, combines her two passions: writing and nursing. In addition to her screenplay, she is a published author.
Dean: Practicing nursing is quite different from practicing medicine. It’s hands-on care beyond the bedside.

Nick: There’s a lot of people that need help out there. I think I could do that.

Nick graduates nursing school and gets a job in Fort Worth.

Nick, dressed in scrubs, enters the cubicle of an elderly woman, Mrs. Paulson. “Are you ready for your dressing change?” he asks her. It’s a sternal chest wound that is badly infected. Carefully, he irrigates the wound and starts to repack it sterilely with forceps.

Mrs. Paulson: It must be true what they say.

Nick: And what’s that?

Mrs. Paulson: Y’all really are angels of mercy.