I am writing to respond to your recent article about Health Services.
We recently sent a satisfaction survey to all students and I will use some of that data as well as our annual statistics to respond to your article. Our survey sample size was 347 students and represented all class years fairly evenly.
Health Services had a total of 6,325 visits last year (Fall ’13 and Spring ’14). This represents 1943 unique students and 75% of the student population. When we look at our statistics every year, the highest utilization of Health Services is by either freshmen or sophomore students.
Although we are not open on Saturdays, we are open on Sundays from 12-5 PM and see an average of 15 students per Sunday. According to the survey, 60% of students are aware of Sunday hours. Our staffing is limited on Sundays (one RN and either a nurse practitioner or physician) but being open one day of the weekend certainly is helpful to students who may not be able to get there otherwise.
We asked students why they were not coming to Health Services and 84% of the respondents stated that they have not needed the services. Only 3% stated that they did not know the services existed. Many students have commented that they like the fact that we are located in a res. hall as it makes us more accessible to them.
The article discussed that students frequently hope to “just drop in for a quick consultation”. There are always two registered nurses and a nurse practitioner available to see students on a walk-in basis anytime the office is open. According to our survey, 97% of students were aware that we had walk-in visits available and 73% of the respondents stated that their most recent visit was as a walk-in. Just like visiting a provider at home, Urgent Care or the ER- there may be times that students have to wait to be seen but once they are in an exam room- we spend as much time as we need to listening to concerns, educating and treating. Our website lists appropriate reasons for both walk-in visits and appointments. A student who has an acute illness, a general medical problem, injury, needs an immunization or lab work as ordered by an outside provider should come as a walk-in. We schedule appointments for more chronic issues, GYN exam/problems, birth control counseling, visits with the nutritionist, physicals for travel abroad, STI testing and counseling. If a student is unsure whether they should come in as a walk-in or appointment, we encourage them to call us and ask.
The recent satisfaction survey revealed that most students are satisfied with the services we provide and the overall attitude toward Health Services is positive. I know that there are always areas for improvement and certainly welcome any further discussions you would like to have regarding ways to improve the work that we do. It is sometimes difficult to be out on campus promoting ourselves when the work at the office is so busy. That’s when working with student groups and others across campus is essential. This semester, we have had several strategic planning meetings with the Counseling Center and the Office of Health Promotion with the goal of serving students better, this work will be on-going. We have worked with the PHEs on projects to promote Health Services and have also worked with other student groups including VOX, SCEMS, and the Center.