Daily Point of Light # 1764 Nov 7, 2000

Erma Bailey is a registered nurse and an active community member who has made great strides in health services, education, disseminating information and mentoring. She is well known among her community. Wherever she sees a need, she develops a plan and ultimately reaches the goal of meeting that need.

Bailey is the Director of Health Ministry at her church. She began a Parish Nurse program at her place of worship, Ramah Baptist Church over three years ago. Acting on her own, she extended her professional career to a volunteer job. Her church, and most of the parishioners, are located in a rural area. Many of the elderly have difficulty getting to and from the doctor, so Bailey dedicates herself to making house calls. She responds to numerous members of the church and the community and her visits are always full of loving care, concern and advice. Sometimes patients may be referred to qualified physicians and if needed, she makes transportation arrangements for them.

As Director of Health Ministry, Bailey and her team have implemented several programs that provide vital information and services to her congregation and the community at large. The programs include monthly health related seminars that cover subjects such as AIDS awareness, diabetes, alcoholism and drug addiction, proper diet and exercise, hearing, hypertension, communication, cancer and other illnesses that are prevalent in the community. In addition to that, the Ministry includes a Wellness Program which focuses on weight control and provides dietary counseling and exercise classes weekly to assist the participants in reaching their goals as well as monthly blood pressure screenings which result in increased health awareness and a positive attitude towards proper health care.

Bailey launched a program of education, advocacy, counseling and recruiting volunteers – the Parish Nurse Program. Bailey was one of the first to volunteer, taking three days off work without pay for training and completing the necessary courses to pool her efforts at her church with the program at the hospital. During the next six months as the hospital was concluding what it needed to have completed through administration to launch the program, Bailey continued to work full time as an employee and as a volunteer Parish Nurse at Ramah. While the hospital has been training more than 20 nurses in the community for the program, Bailey has been available in an advisory capacity for the Parish Nurses that are just beginning their programs. At the same time, she continues to take advise fellow congregation members about their medications and doctors visits, schedules classes, gives lectures as well as continues to give emotional support to those in need.

Last fall Bailey contacted the Work Site Wellness/Corporate Fitness hospital employees and paired the employees with the church youth in a mentoring program. Healthy Lives, Babies to Adults is Bailey’s most recent project. Parents are given suggestions about becoming more involved in the lives of their children. This program at her church focuses on nurturing, mentoring, tutoring, parenting and grandparenting. Bailey was also actively involved in giving aid to the Turkish earthquake survivors last fall. She collected donations from hospital staff for the Red Cross.

To add to her long list of dedicated service, Bailey currently volunteers as a critical care nurse for Monroe Regional Medical Center and is an on-call nurse for Hospice of Marion County. Her compassion extends to her co-workers, church members, community and even her global neighborhood.