Development of a Campus-Based Clinic

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Carolyn Hart, PhD
Division of Nursing and Health Sciences, Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA, USA
Karen A. Grigsby, PhD
College of Nursing, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA
Alyce A. Schultz, PhD
Private Consultant, Bozeman, MT, USA

Background and Significance: Campus-based health centers are an essential component of student success because they frequently address management of chronic illness, acute minor illness, mental and behavioral health issues, including suicide prevention and alcohol and drug abuse. International students and students returning from study abroad could potentially increase the risk of infectious disease outbreaks. College-age students are a vulnerable population, and campus-based health centers provide the means to educate students about healthy behaviors including good nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Currently, our college enlists the services of a part-time nurse who provides health education and assists students in finding local providers. Student Life provides counseling services. The campus nurse is able to schedule appointments while all services are administered by contracted providers in the local area or urgent care centers. Drawbacks to this process include delays in seeking treatment, disruption to academic schedule, and transportation logistics.

Purpose: The purpose of this leadership project was to develop a campus-based clinic designed to meet the healthcare needs of our campus.

Target Audience: Wilson College is a small, liberal arts institution with an enrollment of 537 undergraduate and 739 graduate students. Of these, 265 students live on campus and 1,011 commute. Thirty two international students represent 15 countries. Approximately 50 students per year complete a semester abroad or engage in an international learning experience. In the 2016-2017 academic year, 110 students participated in competitive sports with 33 students involved in equestrian studies. Wilson supports a Parents with Children Program, in which 17 single parents with up to two children live on campus; child care is provided by our college daycare.

Method/Process: Stakeholders having knowledge of the campus environment while also having the power to effectively advocate for creation of a campus clinic were identified. Seven stakeholders, representing faculty and administration, were invited to join the Campus Clinic Team to (a) assess current use of healthcare services, (b) collect data regarding unmet healthcare needs, and (c) determine cost and feasibility of establishing a campus-based clinic. Team members identified number of visits to the campus nurse during each month of the 2016-2017 academic year. The Campus Clinic Team meets every two months. The President and CEO of a local, federally qualified health center was invited to join the Campus Clinic Team to investigate a partnership between the College and the local health center.

Findings and Next Steps: The greatest finding was the amount of data not collected related to students’ health. The campus nurse reported 102 visits in the fall 2016 semester. The top reasons for seeking care included viral illnesses, nausea and vomiting, injury or muscle pain, and skin rash. Missing data included numbers of off-campus visits to urgent care centers, emergency department, and other local providers. Objective data for athletic teams and the equestrian center are not collected. The Campus Clinic Team decided to 1) have a nurse practitioner from the local health center on campus one day a week while the college is in session, and 2) develop a system that accurately captures the number and type of visits to the nurse practitioner and campus nurse, number of students needing sports physicals, numbers of athletic injuries, numbers of equestrian injuries, Day Care illnesses/need to pull parents from class, number of students who delay seeking treatment due to time or transportation constraints, and number of students who miss class due to illness. Data, including the cost and feasibility of establishing a campus-based clinic, will be analyzed after one year to determine next steps to achieve a campus-based clinic.