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Nursing Students Assist Special Olympians

Web Nursing Students Rainbow Gang
Nursing students from the Anderson University College of Health Professions assisted an area physician and the Rainbow Gang as athletes received their required physical exam for the Area 14 Special Olympics.

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Area 14 Anderson County Special Olympics hosted a medical event February 17, partnering with Dr. Sanjeev Kumar and Anderson University Nursing students. 

According to Kathy Schofield, special population recreation program director and Area 14 Anderson County Special Olympics co-area director, the purpose of the event was to allow as many athletes as they could serve to get their required physical completed.

Nursing Mental Health and Wellness students assisted Dr. Kumar to provide sports physicals for 30 special olympians. 

Anderson University’s Nursing students are trailblazers and valuable community partners with Area 14 Special Olympics and Special Population Recreation ‘The Rainbow Gang,’” Schofield said. “During the school year students immerse themselves within our population by volunteering to host spooky tables, dance and chaperone our Trunk or Treat. Students spend a day at Rainbow Gang, and often come back to volunteer for additional events. The experience that the students gain in spending time and working closely with our friends with special needs is crucial for the continued health needs and longer life expectancies that our population is experiencing.”  

Nicholas Posey, a nursing instructor in the School of Nursing of the Anderson University College of Health Professions, says his students had been serving the Rainbow Gang with clinicals on Wednesdays and Fridays each week. He approached Schofield about additional ways to get students involved and she presented the opportunity to help Dr. Kumar with the physicals.

Posey praised his students for going above and beyond to help these athletes prepare for the Area 14 Special Olympics. 

“These students volunteered their time and expertise on a Saturday. The Olympians and their parents were served in a meaningful and intentional way. The students received real world experience, as well as lots of love and hugs from a very special population. The servant heart of Jesus was apparent on the faces of our students on this day. It was an amazing thing to witness,” said Posey.

Anderson University’s Nursing students basically ran the “doctor’s office” for more than four hours, gaining experience by checking in patients, taking blood pressure, height and weight measurements, and keeping a good flow of patients. According to Posey, students also set up a play area for families with small children to keep them engaged. They also brought in some candy and stuffed animal gifts for the younger folks. 

During lunch, students were able to enjoy an impromptu audience with Dr. Kumar, a local physician who volunteers his services to the program, and learn some pearls of wisdom. Dr. Kumar and his wife, who have a daughter with Down’s Syndrome and is in the program, volunteer time to the Rainbow Gang.

“Be personal with people,” Dr. Kumar said. “If you’re in the healthcare profession, it’s a noble one, it’s the one you choose because your heart feels that way.”

In all, they were able to serve more than 25 athletes who will compete in the annual spring games April 10 at Belton Honea Path High School and 13 year-round sports that are hosted. 

“It was due to the professionalism, energy, and compassion that these students brought that helped our event to be a huge success,” Schofield said. 

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