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Mississippi College

Student Nurses at Mississippi College Provide Health Screenings at Baptist Convention

October 31, 2013

Visitors to the Mississippi Baptist Convention received cholesterol and blood pressure checks, learned how to reduce stress levels and picked up handy information to lead healthier lives.

Mississippi College student nurses once again provided health screenings to pastors, spouses and other guests during the 178th annual meeting at First Baptist Church Jackson in late October.

Student nurses like MC senior Grace Willing of San Antonio, Texas were delighted to be part of the state’s largest gathering of Baptist leaders.

“God led me into nursing,” Willing said as scores of visitors stopped by their tables loaded with information sheets about vision care, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, strokes and other medical topics. “My goal is to be an extension of His healing hands to others.”

Playing a vital role at the health fair at the Baptist Convention, she said, “is a practical way to reach out to the Christian community.”

MC nursing student Lisa Freeman of Terry first got interested in nursing when helping care for her ill father in a Jackson hospital. At the time, Lisa discovered the state experienced a nursing shortage in some areas so she applied to school.

Willing and Freeman were among 25 student nurses and four MC School of Nursing professors offering assistance at this fall’s convention.

With Mississippi reporting the nation’s worst rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other medical concerns, health fairs across the Magnolia State are very important to reach citizens with vast needs.

“With changes coming in healthcare, along with the increasing number of senior citizens, maintaining health is a matter of vital importance for our entire population,” said School of Nursing Dean Mary Jean Padgett.

Every year, MC student nurses spend hours volunteering to serve hundreds of Baptist leaders at the convention in downtown Jackson.

Later this fall, Mississippi College student nurses will stay busy administering flu shots to faculty, staff and students at the Clinton campus and at the School of Law in Jackson.

Mixed between the praise music of the Mississippi Singing Churchmen and the Sanctuary Choir of First Baptist Church Starkville, there were plenty of sermons delivered during the two-day program.

Other business included Wednesday’s election of Rev. Matt Buckles of First Baptist Church Vicksburg as the new president of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. He succeeds Rev. David Hamilton, senior pastor of West Heights Baptist Church in Pontotoc, who served two years as president.

MC President Lee Royce, Eric Pratt, vice president for Christian development, and Wayne VanHorn, dean of the School of Christian Studies and the Arts, were among those attending the 2013 meetings.

The Mississippi Baptist Convention, Pratt said, “is a great time to gather with folks from across the state to be encouraged and challenged by powerful preaching and stories about what the Lord is doing.”

Going to the Jackson convention enables visitors to “sit with former students and alumni to talk about the past, share what is happening in the present and dream about the future,” Pratt said. “The Mississippi College community is making a difference for the Kingdom of God and the MBC is a great time to be reminded of the impact MC makes.”

More information about the Oct. 29-30 meetings is available in “The Baptist Record,” the weekly newspaper of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. In addition, there are details on the convention’s website at www.mbcb.org.

Photo: Mississippi College student nurses providing health screenings at the 2013 Mississippi Baptist Convention in late October included: Erin Burton of Clinton and Amanda Barron of Byram in the front row. In the second row: Hannah Sexton of Senatobia, Lauren Bahm of Petal, Chelsay Armitage of Navarre, Florida, Janet Higgins of Lexington, Marlene Williams of Jackson, and Hannah Fatherree of Flowood.