GWU Exercise Science Majors Participate in Service-Learning Experience

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Juniors and Seniors Work with Patients in Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab

Exercise Science Major Jessica Tritt
GWU Exercise Science Major Jessica Tritt takes a participant’s blood pressure at Carolinas Healthcare System Cleveland in Shelby, N.C.

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—A group of exercise science majors at Gardner-Webb University gained hands-on experience this semester by working with patients at a local hospital. As part of their service-learning requirements, the juniors and seniors spent six weeks working in cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at Carolinas Healthcare System Cleveland in Shelby, N.C. “The students interacted with the patients and led a short educational program,” shared Dr. Jeff Hartman, associate professor of Exercise Science and department chair.

The students’ informative presentations focused on a variety of topics including simple exercises to do at home and tips for exercising in hot and cold weather. After the brief class time, the patients began their prescribed fitness routine while the students walked around and offered them encouragement. The students also assisted the hospital staff with checking patients’ blood pressures and monitoring heart rhythms.

David M. Cline III, director of cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, wellness and diabetes centers at Carolinas Healthcare System Cleveland, said the hospital is pleased to partner with Gardner-Webb. “The students shadow my staff through cardiac education and gain an understanding of the type of monitoring and exercise that is being performed,” Cline explained. “The students have been amazingly engaged as they interact with the patients, and the patients love to talk with them.”

Jane Perrin Mayer, an exercise science major
Jane Perrin Mayer, an exercise science major, chats with a participant while they exercise at Carolinas Healthcare System Cleveland in Shelby, N.C.

Brett Stein ’17 of Lorton, Va., enjoyed listening to the patients and their stories. “I like the personal relationships,” he observed. “It’s nice to build on them.” Stein plans to work as a sports performance coach and was able to help the patients by making sure they used proper form when exercising. He also practiced his communication skills by preparing and presenting an educational session.

The involvement with patients gave Kaley Tyree ’18 of Charlotte a glimpse into her future career. “I want to work in cardiac rehabilitation so this has been a good hands-on experience for me,” Tyree affirmed. “I like seeing the patients push themselves and exceed the expectations of the nurses. Many times peoples’ perceptions are different than what they can actually do. It’s cool to see the people surprise themselves.”

Gabby Cortese ’18 of Palm Bay, Fla., appreciated the opportunity to use what she had learned in class in a real-world setting. “It’s motivating for me,” she acknowledged. “Being there helped me decide on my internship this summer. I learn best by being actively involved.”

Brianna Nagle, a GWU exercise science major
Brianna Nagle, a GWU exercise science major, encourages a participant in the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation center at Carolinas Healthcare System Cleveland in Shelby, N.C.

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at