Escape the Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care


David Braz

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines


On April 3rd, students for the Department of Nursing held a screening of Escape The Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care, a documentary that focuses on health care and one fundamental question: how can we save our broken healthcare system? The event was sponsored by North Dakota Public Health Association, Grand Forks Public Health Department, University of North Dakota College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines, and Alliance for Healthcare Access

Courtney Kenefick, a third semester student in the Nursing Program, was one of the students who helped organize the event. "The main reason people need to be aware of this is because either they will, or their children will end up having to deal with and pay for the tremendous deficit that our healthcare has put us in as a country."

The Nursing students wanted to host a screening of the film so that community members would have an opportunity to see some of the problems our nation is facing, as well as possible solutions or alternatives to medical issues. "I would hope that a viewer would come out of this film with an open-mindedness to try alternatives and an understanding that pharmaceuticals are not the only answers or solutions" stated Ms. Kenefick.

Keely Heppner, a fellow third semester student in the Nursing Program, believes the documentary provides educational benefits to health care personnel. "The documentary focused on primary prevention, which is not what our healthcare system does. We focus on secondary prevention, which means we are trying to fix the diseases rather than trying to stop them before they affect the person." Ms. Kenefick and Ms. Heppner wanted to host a public showing of the documentary to help spread awareness of our health care system during National Public Health Week.

Ms. Kenefick believes that as health care providers in training, it is important for the college to do everything it can to inform the public about this issue. "The College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines needs to take a leading role in this discussion because we are the future in this crisis. The only way that we can change the culture of this country is to work as a team, and there is no better place to start that the future nursing and professional healthcare workers." Ms. Heppner concurs, adding "The College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines is a school which educates the healthcare providers of tomorrow."

Ms. Tweeten, a clinical instructor in the Nursing Department, believes documentaries like Escape the Fire, provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the healthcare system in which they will be working. "It also teaches them the importance of prevention, interdisciplinary collaboration, and public health within that system. They are the future leaders of American healthcare, and they need to be well prepared to take on that leadership role. This film is one way of helping them to get to that point. "

The benefits of showing the film go far beyond educating students about our health care crisis. Ms. Heppner and Ms. Kenefick gained firsthand experience of working with the community, organizing an event, and critical reflection on how to improve future community outreach events that they participate in .Ms. Tweeten stated that "It is an ongoing learning process that prepares them for working with a wide variety of programs in their future careers, whether those be public health programs or other health related programs. The skills they learn are very transferrable to almost any area they pursue."

Following the screening, a panel of health care experts addressed some of the issues highlighted in the film as well as questions presented by the community. Debbie Swanson of Grand Forks Public Health, Dr. Eric Johnson from the School of Medicine & Health Sciences, and Dean Korniewicz from the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines were members of the panel.