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Life In Her Hands (1951)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Ann Peters is in a state of bereavement after her husband, Dick, was killed in a car crash. Her grief is compounded by an acute sense of guilt as she was the driver of the car that crashed. Five months later, Anne's mother feels it is time for her daughter to 'move on' and encourages her to take up a job. Anne reluctantly accepts her brother Jack's offer of a job as book-keeper at the repertory theatre he runs and to her surprise finds it a welcome distraction from her grief. Although she enjoys the convivial atmosphere at the theatre, Anne has secretly harboured a lifelong desire to become a nurse and eventually decides to enrol as a trainee at St Oswald's Hospital, the hospital where Dick died.

She embarks on a challenging three-month theoretical training period and proves a promising student. Although hospital life proves exacting, between preparing for exams she enjoys genuine camaradarie with her fellow nurses and makes use of the hospital leisure facilities such as the swimming pool and organised dances for medical staff. She moves onto practical training, gaining experience on different wards and but her emotional vulnerability rises to the surface after the death of a patient and she rebels against discipline and is reprimanded for wearing non-regulation clothes on duty. Her superiors are understanding and she goes on to excel in other aspects of her work. She attends dances for hospital staff and flirts with doctors on night duty - proof that her emotional healing is underway. Her improvement is noted by the matron, who admits that she had initially doubted Anne's potential, but acknowledges that now she appears to have 'found herself'.

Anne assists with a complicated caesarian birth in which she is charged with helping the newborn baby take its first breath, an experience which convinces her that she has found her vocation.