Free sports physicals offered

Published 9:30 am Saturday, March 12, 2022

Longwood Nursing Department Chair Dr. Kim Little and RN-BSN Program Director Dr. Jackie Daniel, have been awarded a $5,000 grant from Centra Health to provide free sports physicals to students enrolled in middle and high school grade levels in the public schools of Prince Edward, Cumberland and Nottoway counties.

Little and Daniel’s initiative began in Nottoway County, after Longwood’s Nursing Department held a Covid-19 vaccine clinic on-site last year and Little realized area schools could benefit from a service such as free sports physicals. Longwood’s outreach has since expanded to Cumberland County and Prince Edward County schools.

“As a healthcare provider, I strive to do anything I can to serve my community and give back,” said Little. “By providing sports physicals, students are able to participate in athletics, which has been shown to improve mental and physical health; it also gives them more opportunities to socialize and be with their peers in a healthy setting. We are eliminating the barriers of cost and transportation for parents. Our nursing students are learning how to communicate with the adolescent population while also having more opportunities for hands-on physical assessment. It’s a win-win.”

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This opportunity allows nursing students and nurse practitioners, Little and Daniel, to potentially identify abnormalities in vision, in the curvature of the spine, or abnormal heart or lung sounds, which could mean identifying an illness or disease process that might not otherwise be found. Through this partnership, Longwood nursing students will truly understand what it means to be a community nurse.

“Nottoway County Public Schools is very appreciative of the services the Longwood University Department of Nursing provided for us,” said Nottoway High School Athletic Director Peter Jones. “By conducting free physicals for our student-athletes, your department relieved a large burden for many of our families during these difficult times.”

“We want to highlight Centra for providing this grant that will allow us to provide not only more service but better service, with the equipment we will now have on-site,” Daniel stated. “Thank you to the schools and community as well for allowing us to come in and be open to having students and faculty from Longwood offer our services.”

Jim Wiecking, program administrator for Longwood’s Office of Research, Grants, and Sponsored Projects, noted that this is the latest example of the Longwood faculty’s commitment to modeling citizen leadership.

“It’s no secret that Longwood is preparing exceptional nurses to serve communities all around the Commonwealth,” he said. “This project is exciting because it showcases their faculty mentors’ ongoing investment in our local communities.”