10 questions with ... Tanisha Jowsey

In this installment of '10 questions with ...' we chat with Dr Tanisha Jowsey about her ethnographic documentary, Prepared to Care (2018), which was screened last week during our ASAA/NZ 2018 annual conference in Wellington.

1. How would you describe your film to a non-anthropological audience?

Prepared to care is a documentary about the experiences of students in nursing, paramedicine, pharmacy and medicine, while they learn in a high fidelity simulation course. We see students grapple with tough clinical situations and reflect on what it means to them to be a healthcare professional.

2. Why now?

I felt it was time for ethnographic film to have a presence in clinical education.

3. What kind of assumptions do you unsettle in this film?

Scope of practice and professionalim. I also look at student experience in terms of risk and perfomance.

4. What drew you to your topic?

When I discovered the course I thought it was so cool. I was mesmerized. I really wanted to know what the students thought about it. I had just watched Donated to science and was inspired to do something similar.

5. How was the production process?

Four days of filming. Three months of editing. Nonstop. I hired a top film producer to help me with the technical side of filming and editing, which helped the technical side but masked the anthropological analysis a bit.

6. What’s your favourite part of the film?

I love the time lapse and following section when we see students in simulations, without any narration. And I love the look on paramedicine student Bonnie when she talks about the mass casualty scenario and not wanting to upset the patient who asks about their loved one's status.

7. What have you learnt about yourself as a filmmaker as a result of this?

I like getting stuff done. Films take time. I felt tension within me between the desire to do something of value and the desire to finish it.

8. Would you make another film?

I’d love to make another film but next time I would go for a topic that can be filmed over a longer (and more relaxed) period of time.

9. What’s next?

I’m doing some grounded theory work on speaking up in operating theatres now and writing up the analytical papers from this film research. Its all great fun!

10. What are you watching/reading at the moment?

I just read When breath becomes air (Paul Kalanithi, 2016) which was nourishing. I’ve also been returning to some anthro favorites - Mary Douglas (on risk) and Clifford Geertz (on shared communities of time). Fun stuff!

Dr Tanisha Jowsey is a lecturer in medical education at the University of Auckland. You can watch Prepared to care on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=467bAuCAv1E