Penn Medicine’s Mary Ersek, PhD, RN shares her experience in “Dying in America” Documentary

“Dying in America: Nurses Leading the Conversation”

“Dying in America” is the second documentary directed and produced by Carolyn Jones. Her debut documentary, The American Nurse, was inspired by her own experience as a breast cancer patient—an experience that opened her eyes to the realization that the people who made the biggest impact during her treatment were actually the nurses. With this in mind, Jones decided to document the experience of the American nurse, and in doing so, realized that many of these individuals have had experiences around caring for people who are dying, prompting her next project.

Mary Ersek, PhD, RN, professor of palliative care at the University of Pennsylvania, became involved with this project following a premiere of The American Nurse here at Penn in which Carolyn Jones attended. “I had actually sent Carolyn a long list of names of my colleagues who she should talk with… and she got back to me and said, ‘Thanks so much for the recommendations, but we’d actually like to interview you,’” she explained.

Dr. Ersek explained that the discussion of end-of-life care has grown increasingly important, especially in terms of the recognition that we need to provide compassionate care to people toward the end of life.

Learn more about the “Dying in America” documentary in Part 1 of our interview with Dr. Ersek:

Learn more about Dr. Ersek’s work in palliative and end-of-life care in Part 2:


View the official “Dying in America” interviews, including Dr. Ersek’s, here: Dying in America Interviews


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