Bearing witness, conveying relevance: Journalism students find engaging ways to share stories of HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

By Rachel Lapp
Photos by Zac Albrecht '06

Seated on a reed mat against the wall of a concrete hut, Anna Groff's notes were sparse as she and fellow Goshen College junior Kimberlee Rohrer interviewed Phumile, a young Swazi mother.
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New book released on practical peacemaking for the global church

By Anna Groff

One person can indeed make a difference in the world – starting in their own communities.
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The secret life of microRNA

Bartel receives National Academy of Sciences Award for molecular biology discovery

By Thomas V. Bona '99

For David Bartel, his current work in the research lab is a lot like his memories of his dad's ceramics studio.
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A healing legacy

By Jodi H. Beyeler

When first-year students Stephanie Kennell (Eureka, Ill.) and Kelly Wiebe (Millersburg, Ohio) were both in second grade, they each dressed up as nurses for Halloween,
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Bursting at the seams: Nursing at GC and nationally

By Jodi H. Beyeler

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the U.S. healthcare industry will need more than 2.8 million new workers – most of them nurses – by the year 2010.
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Goshen College Board Policies
Current as of October 18, 2004

Category I: Ends Policies

1.0 Global Ends Statement:

Goshen College students integrate Christian faith, learning and service through an excellent Mennonite college education, at an institution practicing wise stewardship of resources.
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'Ends' are the beginning: Goshen College board embraces new governance model

If you don't know where you are going, how do you know when you have arrived? That question might sound most appropriate for an undergraduate philosophy class, but it is actually the heart of a process that is changing how the Goshen College Board of Directors does its work.
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'Pearl Diver' offers no easy answers amidst visual beauty and tragedy

Though pacifism stands in stark contrast to the violence in the world, when it is tested in real life, the answers are never so clear.
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The process of transformation

Interim President John D. Yordy
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 Peace & Justice Journalism
 HIV/AIDS in Swaziland

 June 2005

A healing legacy

By Jodi H. Beyeler

When first-year students Stephanie Kennell (Eureka, Ill.) and Kelly Wiebe (Millersburg, Ohio) were both in second grade, they each dressed up as nurses for Halloween, complete with the white caps their mothers wore when they graduated from Goshen College.

Now the two are nursing majors and roommates in Kratz residence hall – further following in the footsteps of their mothers Lynn (Canal) Kennell '76 and Mary (Meyer) Wiebe '82, and in Kelly's case, also in the path taken by her grandmother Miriam (Gross) Meyer '55.

Among the students in the nursing program in 2004-05, there was an unusually high number of students whose mothers had also graduated from the GC nursing program. In addition to Kennell and Wiebe, the list includes first-year Cacia Frisbie (Goshen) and her mother Carol (Graber) Frisbie '81, sophomore Rachel Bontrager (Archbold, Ohio) and her mother Lori (Hollenberg) Bontrager '78, sophomore Naomi Rice-Smucker (Goshen) and her mother Becky Rice-Smucker '77, sophomore Lydia Weisel (Morrison, Ill.) and her mother Cynthia (Cooke) Weisel '82; and senior Jennifer Buchholtz (Rochester, Minn.) and her mother Mary (Reber) Hostetler '75. According to Director of Nursing Vicky Kirkton, more could be included on this list if it expanded to include all those whose parents graduated from nursing from another program.

Though it is unclear why these classes in particular have a high number of parents and children with interests in nursing (though the national nursing shortage has affected overall numbers of current nursing students – see the sidebar), it is apparent that these mothers have greatly influenced their daughters' interest in the profession. Stephanie, whose mom Lynn has been teaching at the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State University for 26 years, remembers that as a child she would fight her dad "to stay up when mom worked really late so that I could smell her hands when she got home – they smelled like the hospital," she said. "And then she would tell me stories of the babies she helped deliver – my favorite stories."

Kelly, whose mother, Mary, works in the Critical Care Unit at Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio, also heard stories about patients and about the service part of nursing. Her mom would take her and her siblings to the hospital with her, run off EKG strips from the monitor for them to take home, give them medicine cups and other allowed items. "Who knows if some seeds were planted then?" said Mary.

Stephanie also has memories of going to work with her mom and playing with the nursing mannequins in the lab and with the IV simulator. And every week for nine years, Stephanie and her mom would watch the TV show "ER" together and "mom would tell me all the ways they weren't doing it right," she said.

About her daughter's interest in nursing, Lynn Kennell said, "As a young child, she helped her dad deliver pigs in the hog barn on occasion, and helped with the care of young pets. If anyone ever was injured, Steph was most willing to watch what was going on and assist as needed. She had the opportunity to watch surgery several times growing up, and she was always fascinated by the wonder of the human body. And as an athlete, in high school, she lived through various injuries and healthcare providers who assessed and diagnosed her injuries, which seemed to stimulate her interest in healthcare as well."

Jobs in the nursing profession offer flexibility, a variety of options within the profession and the ability to directly serve others – all reasons that have attracted these generations of women to the vocation.

"As Kelly was growing up, her father and I attempted to keep family as a high priority. Nursing allowed me to be home more than I was away because I worked part-time," Mary said. "I think Kelly saw the gratification we as parents had with our work conditions and sought to choose a career that would enable her to do likewise."

Mary's own interest in nursing was most strongly influenced by her mother, Miriam (Gross) Meyer '55. "She had a very active and varied career in nursing ranging from hospital to public health to school nursing. Realizing the wide potential nursing provided and the fact that it was a service profession helped in my decision making," she said.

Many nurses choose their profession for altruistic reasons. "As a young person, I was drawn to nursing because I wanted to serve others, be with people and help those in need," Lynn said. "It is a cliché kind of answer, but those were my feelings at the time." Her daughter agrees. "I love the medical field and want to work in it someway. I enjoy helping others, interacting with them, naming the problem and helping them physically, emotionally and spiritually," Stephanie said.

The emphases on holistic healthcare and intercultural nursing embedded in the Goshen College nursing program, and which Mary Wiebe and Lynn Kennell have both incorporated into their work, influenced both Kelly and Stephanie even before they became fully immersed in the college's nursing curriculum. Growing up, they both observed their mothers bringing her medical skills into all areas of life. "I was taught to work diligently and with integrity, and to view the ‘client' holistically. In my work, I believe I serve the client and family more fully because of GC's nursing program," Mary said. Kelly remembers her mom setting up a drive to check blood pressures for persons in their congregation.

Both Kelly and Stephanie are looking forward to Study-Service Term (SST) – and citing it as one of the reasons they chose Goshen – due to the impact it had on their own mothers and other relatives. "SST gives you more of a worldview and helps you to become more sympathetic to others," Kelly said.

Lynn said, "My SST experience in Costa Rica was especially helpful because I learned Spanish better and [now] use it in helping staff at the hospital where I teach with interpretation during admissions and discharges, but also with patient teaching. It strengthened my interest in transcultural experiences, which I later explored in graduate education." Her daughter Stephanie has interests in translating and doing international clinical work, as well as being a nurse practitioner.

Lynn noted the influence of the Goshen College nursing faculty on her, including Norma Jean Weldy, Anna Mae Charles, Kay Yutzy, Chet Peachey, Ida Gross and two current faculty members – Vicky Kirkton and Merv Helmuth who are now teaching her daughter nursing theory, clinical skills, anatomy and medical ethics.

"Nursing classes can be overwhelming at times," Kelly said. "But when I get stressed out, my mom knows what I am going through and will call and support me. And I can call her and ask questions when I don't understand something."

The legacy of healing has been passed on to another generation.
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