Health Service adds hours, new services

Because of increased demand, Student Health Services will stay open until 8 p.m. Monday nights, and is adding new services for dealing with sexually related concerns.

“We’re trying every way we can to meet the increased demand for services,” said Sandy Franz, administrative director for the health service. As she speaks, the outside waiting room chairs are full and two students are waiting in the hall. The increase in hours will continue as a pilot project through spring term.

“We’re seeing an increase of 15 percent of total visits between the fall term of 2001 and fall 2002,” Franz said. There has also been a 21 percent increase in visits to nurses, who perform such medical services as drawing blood, giving inoculations and carrying out the instructions of physicians.

Franz attributes the rise to several factors. One is the increased enrollment. Another is that some students may have lost jobs and as a result lost their private medical insurance and are relying on the university’s service.

As a result of the pressure, the service has added one full-time nurse and a temporary nurse.

Adding a small number of staff members and extending hours is the only option right now, Franz said. The limited number of rooms available for examination and treatment restrict the service’s ability to simply add more staff.

“There’s no point in adding staff if there’s no place to put them,” Franz explained.

The health service, along with Counseling and Psychological Services, will expand this fall into the renovated former PSU bookstore location next to McDonald’s restaurant.

Margaret Trout, nurse manager, outlines the new services.

“Women’s health remains one of our primary interests,” she says. “One result is there are now new options for contraception.” Newly offered are a transdermal contraceptive patch and the NuvaRing, an intrauterine device.

The patch is applied weekly and is small, and similar in size and shape to a nicotine patch.

The health service is adding a urine test for chlamydia. A check on chlamydia formerly was available only as a swab test.

The health service now has convenient tests for gonorrhea, chlamydia and genital herpes, which is detectable through a blood test. Trout and Franz recommend testing for any person who has had any sexual contact, even as rarely as once in a year.

The revised hours for the health service, located in the basement of Neuberger Hall, are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday.