To better accommodate “walk-ins,” students who come to the office of Health Services without appointments, associate director Janice Vermeychuk requested a budget that would increase the hours of part-time practitioners next year.
Vermeychuk said she is doubtful that the budget will pass, so she urges students to take measures to help themselves as well as her staff.
At the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on March 8, Chris Rindosh, senator of Engineering, spoke about an issue he had regarding the walk-in policy at Health Services.
According to Rindosh, he went to Health Services last semester to have his temperature taken, but the receptionist told him that he would have to make an appointment for the next day.
“I was a little shocked that they didn’t just have a thermometer I could borrow and take my temperature with,” Rindosh said. “So I just said ‘no thanks’ and I left.”
Vermeychuk said only walk-in emergencies can be addressed due to scheduled appointments. If a student walks in with a medical condition that does not demand immediate attention, he or she receives a next-day appointment. Because Rindosh’s ailment was not urgent, he received that appointment.
Vermeychuk said that this approach is warranted because there are not enough nurse practitioners to address the needs of every walk-in. Also, she said if nurse practitioners saw every walk-in, they would increase the waiting time of students with appointments.
Fully aware that students are frustrated with next-day appointments, Vermeychuk has requested to increase the hours for part-time nurse practitioners to full-time status (35 hours per week).
“This will cost the College at least $60,000 a year and I honestly do not think it will be approved because of the budget situation and the current fiscal situation in New Jersey,” Vermeychuk said.
To address this issue, Vermeychuk said she plans to re-evaluate the schedule of physicians and add-on hours when service is in high demand.
Vermeychuk recommended students of the College to take action as well. “If the residence hall is your home away from home, make sure you have a first aid kit that includes a thermometer, Tylenol, Advil, cold and cough medicine, et cetera, and learn how to use them,” Vermeychuk said.
Learning how to address basic health issues can help prevent frustration if Health Services is unable to accommodate students, Vermeychuk said. She also said that students should remember to cancel appointments they are unable to keep. No-show appointments can be given to other students to assure more needs can be met, she said.
She encouraged students to be more supportive and appreciative of Health Services. “(We) are open 59 hours per week during the semester, including evenings until 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday mornings,” Vermeychuk said. “This is more than the majority of colleges and universities in New Jersey and nationally.”
Students can support Health Services, she said, through truthful statements, not exaggerated ones. “It is sometimes so shocking what students will say without an ounce of truth and any regard for the fact that their comments are so hurtful to employee morale,” Vermeychuk said.
While she said she realizes that it’s impossible to please everyone, she encourages students with any issues to contact her and promises to investigate and take appropriate action if necessary.
As for Rindosh, he has gained insight on the matter since the incident.
“I guess it was a good learning experience,” Rindosh said. “I know better for next time to call before I go over and check if they have avail ability instead of trying to walk over and have to come back the next day.”