GWU Hunt School of Nursing Provides Opportunities for Students to Serve

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Partnership with N.C. Baptists on Missions and Local Church Offered Health Screenings to the Community

GWU Senior nursing student Jesse Anne Rogers
GWU Senior nursing student Jesse Anne Rogers of Williamston, N.C., takes a participant’s blood pressure.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—While receiving an exceptional healthcare education, students in the Gardner-Webb University Hunt School of Nursing have several opportunities to serve communities close to home and far away. Besides arranging international mission trips, the faculty coordinates an annual event to connect students with local people who have limited access to health care. “It is the school of nursing’s heart to help people who have the most needs, and this is one way for us to do that,” shared Dr. Sharon Starr, Dean of the Hunt School of Nursing.

Held recently, the event involved a partnership between GWU, the N.C. Baptists on Mission (NCBM), and Crestview Baptist Church of Shelby, N.C. Volunteers with NCBM parked the organization’s mobile Health Screening Ministry bus at the NCBM Mission Camp in Shelby. The GWU faculty and students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Family Nurse Practitioner programs were joined by other professionals to offer a variety of nursing services. Church members donated lunch and snacks for the volunteers and participants. Leaders of the Women’s Mission Group at Crestview served the food and also helped with non-medical roles.

The activity is also a requirement for the Community Health class taught by Dr. Kathy Williams, assistant professor of nursing. “It’s really important for us to be here and to give back to the community,” observed a student in the class, senior Jesse Anne Rogers of Williamston, N.C. “It’s important for us to see a different side of health care and reach out to people who aren’t necessarily going to be taking the best care of themselves. I chose Gardner-Webb’s nursing school because they are founded in faith, and I heard so many good things about the professors and how they pray with you before class and how you are more than a number.”

GWU Assistant Professor of Nursing Linda Wines
GWU Assistant Professor of Nursing Linda Wines talks with a participant.

The GWU students took vital signs and also presented educational posters and brochures on several topics, such as taking care of your heart, eating healthy and living with diabetes. Participants were screened for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol and risks for heart disease. The nursing faculty and licensed healthcare volunteers provided each participant counseling on their personal results and discussed referrals to community agencies. “We want to give back to the community and show that we care about people,” affirmed Linda Wines, GWU Assistant Professor of Nursing. “It’s a way for us to serve and to spread the love of Christ.”

A few days before the Health Screening Bus arrived, nursing students spent a day in the community handing out information to residents about the free opportunity. Residents from local homeless shelters were also invited to access the free screening. “We walked the streets and gave the fliers to people who were outside,” Starr explained. “The students engaged with people and have been real eager to help. It’s a good experience for them. They know what the mission is and they have done some work to present healthy living topics. They have interacted with people, and they understand what it means to be out in the community.”

GWU nursing students group photo in front of the busThe N.C. Baptists on Missions Health Screening Ministry Bus is one of 17 ministries sponsored by the N.C. Baptist Men/Baptists On Mission (NCBM). An auxiliary to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the NCBM vision is “Every Christian sharing God’s love with hurting people through word and deed.” The Mission Camp in Shelby provides housing to volunteers from North Carolina and surrounding states while they complete mission projects in the area. For more information about NCBM, visit www.baptistsonmission.org.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.