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Rap Recruiting Video (2004)

Craig Barton and Company


Nursing rating 3 1/2 stars

Rating guide:
excellent = 4 stars; good = 3 stars;
fair = 2 stars, poor = 1 star

Artistic rating 3 stars

May 2006 -- In 2004, Craig Barton, RN, and other ED staff at the University of Alabama at Birmingham created an irreverent one-minute rap video, in response to a hospital-wide nurse recruitment video contest. They won. Their low-budget video is a clever and infectious slice of the life of an urban ED nurse, with a focus on nurses' life-saving skills. There's nothing angelic, maternal, or handmaidenish in it. And the joyous video gives viewers a better sense of what modern nursing is really like, and what's good about doing it, than any other recruiting video of comparable length that we've seen.

Craig Barton nurse recruitment video

See Craig Barton's rap video in Quicktime at broadband of dialup speed.

Mr. Barton's video at first shows ED nurses working on a "patient." Suddenly, there are monitor heartbeats. The nurses and "patient" turn toward the camera and start toward it, strutting and grinning, slowly joined by others, male and female, black and white. There are hip-hop beats, and the lead nurse (Mr. Barton) raps and gestures in a friendly way about the nurses' work.

"Ka-boom! We're the [hospital] emergency room! And we treat every single patient from the womb to the tomb!" This video is directed at recruiting for one specific ED, so we hear about the different types of patients it gets, and how the unit is "state-of-the-art." The video is earthy ("Room 10, there's a patient with a hurtin' in the belly / Look, there goes the intern with the KY jelly!"). There are general testimonials ("We expect the unexpected! That's why we're well-respected!"). But at least one of them is: "Yo, we're savin' lives up in here!" And some lines actually suggest the specific things ED nurses do to improve outcomes: "We're ER nurses! Medications we disburses!" Other parts display technical knowledge. Craig Barton UABThere are references to the crush of tasks the nurses must handle ("When things get their worses--our talents just emerges!"), from starting IVs to handling a heart patient with a "positive history" who needs "a 12-lead EKG!" Finally, the rapper concludes: "So, yo, come be a part / Of this one-of-a-kind family that's 100% heart!"--as a fellow nurse defibrillates the camera. We'll forgive the "heart" line given what's come before, and when it's linked to nurses defibrillating...our faces.

Of course, rap-wise, this isn't the Real Slim Shady. But Mr. Barton's engaging focus on nurses' life-saving, technical skill, and team spirit is a welcome alternative to the angel-oriented big-budget recruiting materials we've seen. This one keeps it real.

Need other good recruitment materials? See our Be A Nurse pages and the materials below:

Lifeline: Nursing Diaries;    Nurses video series;    Boston Globe series on nursing;

Angels in America;    and    Wit

Others suggestions for good recruitment materials? Tell us about them at

Reviewed by Harry Jacobs Summers
Nursing Editor: Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
Last updated: May 12, 2006

The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board Members or Advisory Panel of The Truth About Nursing.




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