School of Nursing & Midwifery Develops Module for Special Olympics to Enhance Volunteer Experience

Posted on: 03 May 2011

A new Intellectual Disability Module of Education, organised by Special Olympics Ireland and run in conjunction with Trinity College’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, was recently launched.  The module, which was developed by the Intellectual Disability Nursing discipline at TCD led by Paul Keenan, is made up of a set of integrated presentations that contain clear and coherent information to enhance the volunteer experience and enable volunteers to carry out their roles more effectively. 

Speaking at the announcement Head of Intellectual Disability Nursing discipline at TCD, Paul Keenan said: “The development of this module marks a first for our team of lecturers and enabled us work with a charity to develop an education framework to support their stakeholders, both athletes and volunteers.  We believe that this module of education will assist Special Olympics Ireland in empowering their organisations and improve the quality of volunteering in line with EU objectives for the European Year of Volunteering 2011.  We look forward to continuing our work with Special Olympics in the future.”

Lecturer in Intellectual Disability Nursing, Carmel Doyle; Head of Discipline/ Intellectual Disability Nursing Paul Keenan; Lecturer in Intellectual Disability Nursing, Colm Griffiths; CEO of Special Olympics Ireland Matt English, and Associate Professor & Head of Nursing Mary McCarron.

The education module is a significant development for Special Olympics Ireland volunteers.  It consists of six presentations which can each be delivered in isolation or as a collection of customised modules.  Topics include:   

  • Introduction to intellectual disability;
  • Athlete Health – common diseases and illness;
  • Communicating with people with intellectual disability;
  • Relationships and sexuality;
  • Safety, vulnerability, assessing risk and behaviour;
  • Special Olympics Ireland professional ethics In volunteering.

CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, Matt English, said: “This is such an important project and one we are absolutely delighted to roll out.  Volunteers are the backbone of the Special Olympics organisation and we want to empower our volunteers to carry out their roles and duties to greatest effect.  The theoretical and practical expertise and experience from the team at TCD’s School of Nursing and Midwifery has been invaluable to the project and I would like to acknowledge and thank them for their cooperation and expertise in developing this module.”

Sixteen Special Olympics Ireland volunteers, who have been trained by staff at the School of Nursing and Midwifery, TCD, will now deliver the presentations to other volunteers involved in Special Olympics clubs and events throughout the island of Ireland.  The development of the module was led by Head of the Intellectual Disability Nursing discipline at the School of Nursing and Midwifery Paul Keenan.  The team included Lecturers in Nursing, Carmel Doyle, Sandra Fleming, Colin Griffiths, Paul Horan and Dr Fintan Sheerin, along with Associate Professor of Nursing, Mary McCarron.