Published November 13, 2014
ROME — Angela L. Haynes, professor and dean of the School of Nursing at Shorter University, is intent upon continuing to develop a nursing program dedicated to excellence in education and yet coupled with a Christ-centered learning environment.
In February 2013 Shorter University purchased the Darlington School property adjacent to the campus on Shorter Avenue. The purchase included the acquisition of the beautiful home once owned by Col. and Mrs. Shorter, who were so crucial to the school’s success in the 1870s.
Subsequent to the purchase of the Darlington property the School of Nursing moved from the Riverbend Center to the newly acquired property, now called the Thornwood Campus. The school now has ample space for teaching and practical application of knowledge through state-of-the-art simulation techniques.
Haynes’ educational background and experience certainly qualify her to lead Shorter’s School of Nursing to the pinnacle of excellence and service, but her faith and missionary spirit should win the hearts of Georgia Baptists across the length and breadth of the state.
As an 11-year-old she heard a missionary who came to her church, Lucerne Baptist Church in Lilburn. As he talked about the physical and spiritual needs of the children of Africa her heart was moved and she knew that God had given her a heart to serve others.
Helping in Haiti
After years of education and training Haynes began going to Haiti to care for the sick and displaced children of that poverty-stricken country. Haynes, her mother Twilla, and her sister Hope – all nurse practitioners – traveled to Haiti every three months with health care volunteers to deliver health care via mobile clinics to eight communities identified as priority health risk areas.
Referring critically ill children was a challenge and many had poor outcomes. Since necessity is the mother of invention, the Hayneses decided to open an orphanage under Eternal Hope in Haiti Inc. called Hope Haven, in Cap Haitian. The orphanage was founded to care for critically ill children and currently has 54 children.
Out of all the children they have cared for only two have died, both HIV positive. Shorter nursing students are required to have some global experience before they graduate and so each year Haynes takes her students to Cap Haitian. They generally go to the rural areas of Haiti and see 1,800 to 2,200 children and families each trip. They get clinical credit for their participation in the missions experience, but even more importantly the children of Haiti are given the help and hope they desperately need.
Shorter nursing student Mary Kate Smith reflected on her mission to Haiti in June, saying, “I must say I was in shock as I stepped off the plane. Nothing could have prepared me for the feelings I would experience when stepping into the airport. Once we got our luggage and stepped out into the streets of Haiti, sadness flooded me, I have never seen such poverty before.
“As we met the children at the orphanage on that first morning, my heart was greatly moved. As the children ran to meet us as we stepped off the van, I couldn’t even describe how blessed I felt to have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the Haitian people.”
Mary Kate continued, “This clinical experience reminded me that it is through His strength alone that I am walking this road. He will sustain me, and give me what I need to be the person He has called me to be.
“I am so thankful to serve a God who never fails to remind us that if we walk with Him, He will never fail us. I pray that as I walk along this nursing journey, my relationship with Him grows stronger ever step of the way. My utmost desire in this life is to be used by Him and for His glory.”
Kristen Westmoreland, another Shorter nursing student, exclaimed, “Going to church in Haiti was another good experience. I was amazed at how many people were in church. Every seat was filled and everyone had a welcoming smile.”
Kristen explained how she was so touched by one child that she gave her last $20 to his mother and added, “In Haiti I learned more than I could have ever learned at home about myself and about what it means to care for those who can never repay you.”
Cassadee Ainsworth, another SU nursing student, observed, “Our last clinic was the farthest away. We rode about two hours out to the clinic site. The people were cheering for us as we walked up to prepare to see patients. I had no idea what they were saying, but I could tell they were thanking us for coming. We all held hands and prayed and sang to begin our days work.”
Anna McBride testified, “I fell in love with Haiti and the wonderful people I met there. It was the most fulfilling, enriching, and touching experience of my life. Experiencing such a different culture and being able to serve with my nursing peers, professors, and dean is something I wouldn’t trade for the world.
“God truly worked through each one of them with their selfless love, hard work, unity, and intelligence as we worked together to serve others in need. This trip was eye-opening and life changing and I am forever thankful.”
More recently Shorter’s nursing students have collected over 200,000 gloves to assist health care providers in Africa combating Ebola. They have also received $1,200 to ship the gloves.
Believing that missions begins at home, Haynes commented, “Our students are also community partners, volunteering their time this month to pack meals for low-income children in Floyd County and in support of a local breast cancer 5k race. The students continue to seek opportunities to serve others, locally and globally.
“Our students are also receiving multiple job offers. None of our graduates seeking employment are without jobs in nursing. Additionally, more than 20% of our graduates have already entered masters or doctoral level programs. We strongly encourage them to continue professional development.”
Haynes concluded her remarks by saying, “We are embracing opportunities to be refined into the type of program that brings honor to the Kingdom of God and pride to our university.”
It should bless and encourage Georgia Baptists to know that their gifts through the Cooperative Program and Mission Georgia go to educate young adults who have a heart to serve others in the name of Christ.
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