Socialworkersspeaks on FacebookFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed

Social Worker Hopes Film Will Alert Public to Looming Healthcare Crisis

Social worker and documentary producer Nancy Pando hopes her film, “The Vanishing Oath,” will alert the public about a looming healthcare crisis.

More doctors, disillusioned by piles of paperwork they have to file for insurance and the threat of expensive and time-consuming lawsuits, are leaving the profession. America could soon find itself with a shortage of doctors, she said.

 “Physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession,” said Pando, a National Association of Social Workers member who lives near Boston. “They are either leaving this earth altogether or they are leaving clinical medicine behind.”  

“We can already see a shortage of general practitioners — they are leaving in droves,” she said.

Pando, MSW, LICSW, continues to do social work, seeing private patients and doing personality assessment and parenting consulting. She is also the author of the children’s book “I Don’t Want to Go to School” ($8.95, Horizon) about separation anxiety.

However Pando, who used to do hospital social work, always had a desire to do documentary filmmaking. She went online and found a local filmmaking group.  That is how she met fellow filmmaker Dr. Ryan Flesher and came up with the idea to do “The Vanishing Oath.”

“He said to me ‘I hate being a doctor,'” Pando said. “I said to myself, ‘I’ve never heard a doctor say that before.”  

So she and Flesher decided to do a film exploring why Flesher and other doctors were so negative about their profession. They went around interviewing doctors, people in academia and just people in the street.

Nancy Pando. Photo courtesy of Crash Cart Productions Web site (

Ryan was the cameraman and Pando did interviews. She said her social work experience gave her the interview skills she needed to get subjects to open up about their motivations.

She remembers interviewing one doctor who had made the heartrending decision to leave the profession.

“That was a painful interview for me to do,” she said. “I could ask him the questions to prompt some strong revelations.”

“The Vanishing Oath” was voted best medical documentary at the New York and Los Angeles Independent film festivals.

The movie is available online (for more information click here) and Pando also offers showings to groups.

She hopes the film will not only educate the public about the challenges doctors face but also demystify the profession. Despite the stereotype doctors are arrogant many want to provide patients with good, personalized care but are hampered by red tape and the fear of malpractice lawsuits.

 “It  seems there is a lot of pressure on physicians and we expect them to be perfect,” Pando said. “I think we stereotype and paint people with a broad brush.”

Social workers play a vital role in helping consumers get good medical care. To learn more, visit NASW’s “Help Starts Here” Health & Wellness Website by clicking here.

|   Leave A Comment
Tagged as: , , , , , , , , ,


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.