by Aarron Fleming
The Bartlett Express
Bartlett residents that live near the intersection of Stage and Kirby Whitten Rd have likely watched dozens of movies at the local Hollywood Cinema, the movie theater located near the large swath of other businesses housed within the Stage Center complex.
While the pandemic dealt a huge blow to the movie theater industry, effectively transforming their parking lots into asphalt-covered ghost towns, a stray car idling in the Hollywood Cinema parking lot still probably wouldn’t be anything to sneeze at.
One might not guess, however, that inside that car, a local CNA student was running a mini medical clinic by offering free blood pressure checks to local residents in need.
April Brock, a Cordova resident who attends Career Academy in Memphis, started offering these free blood pressure checks as a way to practice for her CNA licensure exam.
She posted up in the parking lot originally just to read through her textbook, often for 12 hours at a time, because she wanted to make sure that she was as prepared for her exam as possible.
After a while, however, she had an epiphany: she could kill two birds with one stone by offering free blood pressure checks to local residents which would allow her to help others and at the same time, help her practice for her exam.
“Not everybody has that medical equipment at home, not everybody has a blood pressure reader,” she said, “Not everybody knows that they even have high blood pressure or low blood pressure.”
Brock, who was raised by her grandparents, decided to pursue a career in healthcare after caring for them when they were at the end of their lives.
“I’ve always had a way, especially with elderly people, sick people,” she said, “I’ve always had a way of helping… I’m a healer naturally.”
Brock said that when her grandfather was in the hospital, she would often sit with him for weeks at a time, only going home to shower and see her family before heading back.
She said that she did this because she was determined to keep him out of a nursing home, even if it meant sacrificing the typical relationship that most people have with their grandparents.
“It was a very rewarding experience caring for both of them in their times of need,” she said.
While other places like the Walgreens next door to the theater offer blood pressure checks for shoppers, Brock had the advantage of not needing all of the fancy equipment.
All she needed was a stethoscope, her blood pressure reader, and her Toyota Avalon. Being positioned near the Walgreens, however, allowed to her run over and purchase things like gloves and hand sanitizer to maintain a sterile operation and make sure everything was as clean as could be for the patients that drove up to see her.
Brock said that dozens of people came up to get a reading, including an EMT with the Bartlett Fire Department that gave her advice on how to do the blood pressure checks more effectively.
“He was telling me how to do the blood pressure from the brachial artery, so it was really helpful,” she said.
Brock said that her mobile medical clinic has even won her a job offer from a premier healthcare facility in Memphis that cited her compassion and readiness to learn as evidence for wanting her on board.
Once she obtains her CNA license, she said she wants to continue to move up in the healthcare field as far as she can and is even interested in continuing her on-the-go blood pressure check station for those that need it.
“It’s something that you’re not going to make it in if you’re in it for the money,” she said, “because you have to have a passion for it. And I feel like that is really my calling is healthcare.”