Archived Voice Articles

Campus Health Center is open for clients

By Sally Jongsma

Tucked away on the east side of campus in the basement of Covenant Hall is a gleaming new facility housing the newest service offered to Dordt College students. The Campus Health Center opened its doors this fall and offers free care to all students. The center is staffed by three health care professionals: Pam Hulstein, a nurse practitioner and the director of the health services program; Linda Versteeg, a nurse; and Linda Vogel, a nurse receptionist. All bring years of experience to their jobs.

The first person students--like Lucas Houtsma--see when they visit the Campus Health Center is nurse Linda Ver Steeg.

The first person students--like Lucas Houtsma--see when they visit the Campus Health Center is nurse Linda Ver Steeg.

The Health Center has two examination rooms and an observation/rest room to accommodate students who come for treatment or health information. A reception area, a work area, and a classroom for nursing students are also part of the facility. The Health Center is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays.

"This is the first time that Dordt students have an entry point to health care on campus," says Hulstein. She's been told that students often put off going to the medical clinic in town, especially those who don't have transportation to get there. Hulstein hopes the new facility will help students get treatment earlier.

In the first two weeks of classes, health care staff saw between three and nine students each day, not including students who called or came looking for information on such things as smoking cessation. So far, most of the diagnoses and treatments have been for upper respiratory illnesses or minor injuries-exactly what Hulstein expects to be the focus of their work. Those who come in with more serious illnesses will have treatment and, if necessary, transportation arranged for them to the local medical clinic. What students will also get is very personal care. Those who come in to the clinic also receive a follow-up call or e-mail to check on their recovery.

"We're not being nosy, but we want to know that they're improving and if not do something further," says Hulstein.

Patients will normally see Versteeg, who has worked in college health care and hospice settings for the last twenty years. Hulstein, who teaches courses to health science nursing students, is available for consultation and also plans to staff the center at least a half day per week. She specializes in women's health and is a certified mid-wife and will be available for gynecological exams and counseling.

Students are still getting used to the fact that we're here," Hulstein says. She expects the numbers to increase as awareness grows and as winter sets in.

The Campus Health Center now holds all of the health records that students submit at registration. In fact, students must have their records on file in order to be treated, including immunization records. And in addition to offering treatment for minor illnesses and complaints, the Center offers immunizations to students who need them or want them. In September, the nurses offered meningococcal immunizations to anyone on campus for a fee. Updating MMRs, TB screening, and hepatitis series shots are also services that are available.

The nursing staff also expects to include educational efforts in their workload. As they deal with recurring illnesses or questions, they will try to find ways to help students better understand how they can stay healthy.

"The new facility is very adequate-and yet it allows room for expansion," says Hulstein. She foresees, for example, the possibility of coordinating a campus wellness program for students and employees. Other preventative and educational efforts may also be considered.