Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Goshen College nurses to discuss being gatekeepers for health care during annual mock convention Feb. 10

GOSHEN, Ind. – During their 35th annual Nursing Mock Convention Feb. 10, Goshen College nursing students and faculty will debate and vote on some of the more controversial subjects in the field of nursing, giving the students real-world experience outside of a hospital setting.

The daylong, on-campus convention, beginning at 8:45 a.m. on Feb. 10, is designed to help students tackle tough yet relevant topics in the field of nursing. Former Goshen College Professor of Nursing Fran Wenger will give the keynote address, “Nursing: Gatekeeper for health care.” The convention will be held in the Church Fellowship Hall.

Wenger, who taught at Goshen from 1962 to 1990 and was director of nursing, has built programs that study and make links between public health, medicine and theology at Emory University’s School of Public Health and the Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga. “Transcultural nursing” has been a particular focus of her research and work and she has served as president of the Transcultural Nursing Society.

Following Wenger’s morning keynote address, the convention will be opened for debate on the resolutions submitted by groups of students: adolescent sexual health and confidentiality, bilingual issues and assisted suicide. Students, following correct parliamentary procedure, will take turns carefully and thoughtfully expressing their opinions to the convention chair.

Associate Professor of Nursing Mervin Helmuth, who helped initiate the mock convention program in 1973, said, “The purpose of the debate is to make students take a stand,” he said. “It has less to do with getting a resolution passed, and more that students are willing to get up and speak their piece. In this way they get involved in the bigger gray areas of the issue and don’t get lost in the details of black and white.”

The resolutions, voted on in parliamentary fashion, serve as a stimulus to the students to make their convictions heard. “The idea is to not only to present nursing students new ideas, but also engage them in a process on the issues and then follow-up on them by talking to legislators to affect change. This is the same thing we do with the American Nurses’ Association,” said Helmuth, who serves as vice president of the Indiana State Board of Nursing.

Another purpose of the mock convention was to offer students the opportunity to meet people from different health-care organizations. Many local organizations came to observe the convention and advertised in hopes of hiring new nurses, much like at a professional nursing convention.

Goshen College's annual Mock Convention is an activity that is unique to the college and significantly contributes to student participation in professional nursing organizations. Goshen College nursing alumni have a 41 percent membership in their professional organizations compared to the national rate of 20 percent.

In 1953, Goshen College graduated its first class of nurses, after starting the first bachelor's of science in nursing program in Indiana in 1949. In the 53 years since, more than 1,600 graduates have responded to the call to nursing by earning a bachelor's degree at Goshen College.

Editors: For more information about this release or to arrange an interview, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit

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