Beginning this month, a new physician’s assistant will start seeing patients at the Health Center allowing for more students to be seen, said Keith Lott, director of SHSU Health Center.
“This is typically our busiest time of the year,” he said.
“We see one patient every 15 minutes from 8:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. and from 1:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.,” said Registered Nurse Linda Wadsworth who works at the center.
She said the Health Center normally has patients to see and the only time they do not is if someone does not show up for an appointment.
Lott said the clinic has three nurses and one nurse practitioner currently on staff. Patsy Darling, Health Center clerk, said the clinic receives at least 40 phone calls a day from students wanting to be seen. However, the clinic only has time allocated to see 28 students per day.
The typical waiting period from when a patient calls to when they are seen depends on the time of day and the day of week, Lott said.
By calling earlier in the day, the person may be able to be scheduled for an appointment the next day, he said.
Wadsworth said she thinks an additional health care provider is “very much” needed.
“It’s a hard job for just one (nurse practitioner) because we see so many sick kids,” she said.
Lott said the students always have the option of seeing a nurse without an appointment if they feel their condition is serious.
If students say they feel nauseous or have a fever when they call for an appointment, the clinic will try to schedule them between patients if it is already booked, she said.
“We take some walk-ins if they’re extremely sick,” said Wadsworth.
“I called on a Thursday, and (the SHSU Health Clinic) said they were booked for the next two days and to call back on Tuesday,” junior Trebor Cage said.
Cage said she went to the doctor in her hometown because she didn’t know the clinic would have seen her if she would have said her condition was serious.
Lott said the new physician’s assistant will see patients three days a week for the time being, which should be adequate for the clinic.