On Saturday, April 2, 2015 PLNU's Health Promotion Center (HPC) will host its annual Festival of Health. The festival will be held 9am-2pm at Church of the Nazarene in Mid-City, 4101 University Ave. All nursing students participate, presenting on health issues and connecting with community members. The HPC offers stipends to each congregation withing the church to prepare and sell food for the event.
In May 2000, PLNU’s School of Nursing established the HPC at the Church of the Nazarene in Mid City to provide health services for individuals and families in the area who could not afford healthcare. In the beginning, the center functioned in one large room in the church, partitioned by green privacy curtains.
Today, the HPC is complete with two exam rooms, a classroom, and an administrative office. The community has access to services like flu shots, whooping cough and tetanus vaccines, pregnancy testing, pap smears, and complete physicals. The center has plans to eventually expand their services.
This location places student nurses in the heart of one of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Diego. In fact, the church is home to six congregations, each with their own language: Cambodian, English, French/Creole, Spanish, Sudanese, and Samoan.
Mary Margaret Rowe, MSN, RN, director of the HPC and adjunct professor of nursing, says being immersed in the culture of the HPC’s neighborhood and expressing genuine concern are vital.
“A lot of nurses have never seen patients in their own element,” said Rowe. “I want my students to know where people are coming from.”
Despite the differences in language or culture, Rowe said, “Our students realize the value of non-verbal communication, which includes kindness and respect for all who seek our care.”
These experiences are laying groundwork for PLNU nursing students to approach their future careers with professionalism and compassion.