School of Nursing receives Salvation Army award for serving community at Hands and Feet Clinic
The Liberty University School of Nursing recently received the Partners in Mission Award from the Salvation Army of Greater Lynchburg for hosting the Hands and Feet Clinic, a hygiene clinical where nursing students support the underserved members of inner-city Lynchburg.
The award is the nonprofit’s highest distinction and is given to volunteers who uphold the Salvation Army’s mission of “preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meeting the human needs in His name without discrimination.”
“The award was a huge honor for the School of Nursing,” said Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Dana Woody. “Receiving the Partners in Mission Award means so much. Truly serving as His hands and feet to our community — acting on our calling as healthcare professionals — resonates with everything we do. This award represents our work on many levels for Him and for our community.”
The Hands and Feet Clinic, held at the Salvation Army on Park Avenue in Lynchburg, provides hand and foot massages, manicures, and pedicures. Students wash clients’ hands and file and clip their nails.
The clinic started as “the foot clinic” four years ago, but it slowly evolved over time. Sessions are held weekly, for about four to six weeks each semester, and average between 30-40 participants. About 10-15 student nurses participate each week. The small number of volunteers helps maintain an intimate setting between both parties.
“We get to serve the Lord through this,” senior Elizabeth Cass said. “We get to show them just how much Jesus loves them by a simple act of kindness. We just enjoy it.”
On Nov. 18, the nursing students completed their final Hands and Feet clinic of the Fall 2019 semester.
“This clinic is a remarkable experience in general,” Woody said. “It changes the perspective of the students. Sometimes when I leave the clinic, I am absolutely speechless. We work with a very vulnerable population, so it’s so important for us to appreciate our role in their vulnerability.”
Senior nursing student Brooke Sommons said being a volunteer provides more than an opportunity to meet citizens’ physical needs. This semester, students taught their clients about maintaining healthy lifestyles.
“We get to teach them about things like stress relief and nutrition, which is very beneficial,” she said. “I love doing it; this clinic makes them feel loved.”
The clinic is an outlet for these future caretakers of our society to use tools like the heart, mind, and ears, Woody said. The students look forward to spending time with their clients and hearing their unique stories.
And even though the clinic allows the students to earn 30 community clinical hours each semester to go toward their required hours for nursing licensure, students said it is much more than meeting a requirement.
“This has been one of the most rewarding experiences at Liberty that I’ve participated in,” Sommons added. “(The participants) honestly poured into my life just as much as we’ve poured into them.”
“It ultimately becomes our ministry unto ourselves,” Woody added. “We so often think we are filling the cups of our participants, but in reality, our cups are being filled. That’s a powerful takeaway in what we do."