OC Nursing Students Deeply Involved in Missions
by: Stafford North | July 11, 2018
The School of Nursing at Oklahoma Christian has about ninety students in the junior and senior years and another hundred are pre-nursing freshman and sophomores. Ten experienced nurses teach the classes and guide students in getting their experience in clinical and hospital experience.
One of the required courses for these majors is called Health Care Missions and Christian Service which students must take for at least two weeks at the end of their junior year. Of course there are variations on this program that allow students to stay longer and want additional mission experiences.
There are four primary destinations for these students. Most of the students go to Honduras and in 2018 fourteen nursing students and two pre-med students who made the trip. Four other students went to Guatemala, two more to Tanzania, and others worked in health service projects in the Oklahoma City area. Students much raise their own funds for travel and other costs.
All the students taking the course spend three days at Harding University’s Mission Training Village. This location has huts which demonstrate how many people in various areas of the world live such as in South America, Africa, and Asia. While there, students purchase food like people eat where they are going and then they have to cook this food as people do in that part of the world. They also do disaster simulations. This experience helps to prepare the nursing students for their upcoming time abroad.
The students who go to Honduras work with Predisan Health Ministries which has programs in several area of that country. Nursing instructor Shawna Hood goes to help these students as they do health clinics including immunizations and screening. They also go to schools to teach students how to improve their health.
Nursing students who go to Guatemala work with Health Talents International. Nursing instructors Christian Hallock, Courtney McCoy, and Trevy Rauch assist these students. They primarily assist with surgeries, usually six or seven a day. OC alum Valarie Wedel has provided scholarships for some of the students who choose to go to Guatemala.
Another destination for nursing students to get their missions experience is in Chimala, Tanzania. They go there to work with former OC student Cheryl Bode who helps to operate a medical clinic there. Those going usually stay six weeks to help with HIV testing, clinical work, and assisting in mobile clinics. Dr. Jennifer Gray and four students are pictured with a sign about the clinic.
Some nursing majors choose to stay at home for their mission work. They work with the Capitol Hill Medical Clinic or work with low-income schools such as at Luther, Oklahoma.
All of these medical works help those needing medical assistance and they also seek to demonstrate Christ in action. These activities are all connected with people who seek to teach the gospel to those who come for aid.
Dr. Gray, Associate Dean for the College of Natural Health Sciences, explained the benefits she thought OC students received from their work in missions. First, it gives them a perspective about how communities can improve the health of those who live there. Second, she explained that the experience helped students to know about the work of the church in different areas of the world and a chance to see Christians in a different culture. Third, she thought that those who participate gain confidence in their own abilities because they often have to repeat the same experience over and over and become quite proficient in doing it. And fourth, she indicated that the students develop spiritually because they see Christians in action and because each student prepares an evening devotional in which the group participates.
So, as in so many other areas of its curriculum, Oklahoma Christian seeks to prepare students to do excellent work in their chosen career but also seeks to give them experiences which provide spiritual development as well. The work of OC nursing students around the world is good news.