Sometimes you find a partner that you simply mesh with. Pregnancy Resource Clinic of Clark County and Cedarville University have one of these providential relationships in which Cedarville nursing students volunteer at the clinic.
“It’s a win-win,” Ellen Dudney, the center’s executive director, said. “They practice the nursing skills they’ve been learning, and we benefit from the wonderful perspective they bring. They are young, so they are able to relate to clients, but they also bring in and contribute professional nursing observation and interview skills as well.”
Located just 10 miles away from the ultrasound-equipped clinic, Cedarville University is a Christian college with around 4,000 students and an accredited nursing school.
The proximity to the university—and its addition of a nursing program in 1982—has made Cedarville an ideal partner for the pregnancy center, which has served women in the area since 1987.
While professional nurses volunteer at the center, their schedules tend to be limited. Still, the center has benefited from Cedarville’s crop of nursing students for about six hours a week over the past decade—an outsized impact both in the short-term for the clinic, and in the long-term for the students, who are introduced to the life-saving work of pregnancy help centers.
“The fact that Cedarville is right there and just full of solid Christians who are just wanting to serve and wanting to find ways to plug in is amazing,” Kaela Enderle, a Cedarville grad who volunteers at the clinic, said. “There are other clinics that survive without nursing students, but they don’t necessarily have nurses there all the time to provide that same level of education that nurses can from a medical standpoint provide.”
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In the midst of a chaotic schedule, volunteering at the clinic goes a long way in opening students’ minds to the needs of those around them, from housing to financial assistance to buying diapers, wipes and baby formula.
Last year, the Pregnancy Resource Clinic of Clark County had about 2,000 patient visits for pregnancy tests, ultrasound scans and material services. Through partnering with the clinic, students are seeing the on-the-ground reality of the pressure to abort a baby out of financial stress.
“We’re trying to break down that and really be in the community, help the community and show that we're there,” Stephanie Limbers, a nursing student who helps facilitate the relationship between Cedarville and the clinic, said. “We see what's going on and we care about it. We're going to do something rather than just look away.”
For Dr. Rachel Parrill, associate professor of nursing at Cedarville and board member at the center, the students’ volunteer efforts are part of a bigger picture.
“The idea is that we are not just here to hand out things in the community and be nice to people,” she said. “We’re here to learn what it means to share the gospel and provide tangible help and hope to people."
While the medical nature of volunteering at the center draws mostly nursing students, there are also a few students from other majors who serve as non-medical care coordinators, receptionists or administrative volunteers.
The students volunteer through Cedarville’s Global Outreach office, which offers a variety of local ministries for students to serve in their spare time—from youth ministries to jail ministries to pregnancy help ministries.
The partnership between the pregnancy center and Cedarville extends beyond the nursing school. While around 10 Cedarville students volunteer at the center on a regular basis, they’ve also brought the center’s message right on campus, using baby bottle campaigns and other efforts to engage classmates in the life-saving work going on just down the road.
Ultimately, the clinic’s leadership is hopeful that this kind of ministry work brings those they touch closer to God.
“God is the author of life, and as we walk beside those who intersect with the PRC, we have the privilege of learning more about the abundant life God offers through Christ.” Parill said. “I believe awareness of pregnancy help work highlights the difficult circumstances women and men face in our broken world and underscores the power of the gospel to bring hope.”