To the Man in Soiled Linen: a short film

To the Man in Soiled Linen is a short film based on a poem written by nurse Miriam Barber, and adapted into a short film in collaboration with writer and director James Soldan.


Miriam initially wrote the poem after a particularly challenging shift on an understaffed and overstretched NHS ward, where she was trying to provide care for a patient whose illness made him totally unable to communicate his needs. Wanting to share the realities of a job as a nurse – the good, bad, and inbetween – Miriam brought her poem to James who transformed a shortened version into this film, with Miriam starring as herself. You can read the full original poem as text.

On this page you can watch the short film, as well as videos of Miriam talking about what it’s like to be a nurse.


What was happening at work that led you to write this poem?

Can you tell us more about the patient in the poem?

What’s it like working for the NHS today?

I hear them judge the care they see, which really means they’re judging me.

— Miriam Barber, 'To The Man in Soiled Linen'

What advice would you give to a nurse who’s struggling?

Do you ever regret choosing nursing as a career?

I wish we had more time to spare, I wish people would see how much we care. I know that we are failing you, but we’re at breaking point, we’re people too.

— Miriam Barber, 'To The Man in Soiled Linen'

What are some of the best parts of being a nurse?

What do you hope people take away from this film?