Quinnipiac expands student health services while cutting back on hours

Jessica Ruderman

Quinnipiac students should expect a change in on-campus provided health services come the fall following a cut in hours and an upgrade in staffing, according to an email from the Student Health Services on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

As of July 1, the Mount Carmel Campus Health and Wellness Center is now open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the academic year. Services on the York Hill Campus will be available from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The updated hours are available on the school’s Health and Safety webpage along with the center’s contact information.

“The change in services and operational hours was the result of our desire to best meet the increasing needs of our students,” Christy Chase, Director of Student Health Services said. “Additionally, we have received significant feedback from students and their families requesting an increase in provider hours on campus.”  

In place of the loss of hours, Quinnipiac has decided to bring in more experienced health care providers who can diagnose and treat students on-site. Previously offering resident nursing assistance, the switch is moving toward provider-based experience such as APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurses), PAs (Physician Assistants) and MDs (Doctors of Medicine), as well as a Dietician on staff.

“Though our overall hours have decreased, we have expanded our provider hours beyond business hours and through the weekend,” Chase said. “With that being said, we understand that this a big change and will most likely require a period of adjustment.”

Amongst few other schools across the country, such as Yale Health, Quinnipiac’s 24/7 service was an antiquated model and in need of an expansion, according to Dean of Students, Dr. Monique Drucker, in an article 

[media-credit name=”Morgan Tenzca” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]by NBC Connecticut.

“Across the country, most health centers are open business hours. We feel that moving toward the national best practice and providing a more wellness focused model will be beneficial to the students,” Chase said. “With our previous model, at times, students were forced to seek care from medical providers outside of campus.”

In the case of emergencies, the school will still offer an ambulance service, AMR, (American Medical Response), that responds directly to campus. The university will also provide a phone service after-hours to help students get assistance immediately. 

“The service can be accessed right through the Student Health Center’s main number at 203-582-8742 and pressing #2.  Students will be able to speak to a registered nurse for assessment and recommendation for treatment,” Chase said. “Additionally, we will continue to have EMTs on site for several nights, and as always, emergencies will be transported to the Emergency Department as they were prior to the change.”

As for the York Hill campus, residents can expect the same hours that have been implemented in the past as well as the addition of a provider, a nurse and a medical assistant on staff.

Both Drucker and Chase have emphasized that they believe students will be very happy with these improvements and changes, but some students still feel that the previous model was a better fit for the Quinnipiac community. 

“I feel that having 24/7 access to care is very important especially for students who cannot afford a $100 trip to a walk-in clinic for something a nurse can assist with on campus,” Alicia Leo, junior film, television and media student, said. “Not having 24/7 access to health services is putting students at risk for spreading illnesses, students becoming increasingly sick due to inadequate access to medical attention and a distrust between the students and the university.”

Although many other students have expressed similar annoyance toward the switch, some have come to understand the reason many other universities have adopted this method.

“I was completely opposed to the idea of the health center switching to shorter hours in exchange for more expert providers, but after a visit this following weekend, I feel differently,” Matthew Williams, junior biochemistry major said. “I made an appointment to have my knee checked and received great service from not only one of the nurses but also an APRN. It was a very professional and effective experience, much like an actual doctors office. ”

For Williams, the prospect of having professionals available on campus outweighs the loss of hours.

“Ultimately, it would be nice to have both advanced providers and 24/7 service,” Williams said. “But if you had to choose one then quality would most definitely stump quantity.”

A month into the switch, the new hours were yet to be fully implemented as the summer hours of operation still remain the same. The health center will begin the shortened hours once all of the students return to campus for the fall semester. 

“It is an exciting opportunity to move more toward improved wellness services for the community,” Chase said. “By increasing provider coverage, extending provider hours, offering an after-hours triage line, adding a nutritionist and a prevention and wellness educator, we believe this will be extremely beneficial for our students and we will be better able to meet their needs.”

Student should continue to make appointments via the Patient Portal at https://studenthealthservices.com or by calling Student Health Services during open hours.