Health clinic needs help

By Stephanie Saviola

I recently visited our health clinic at the residence center, 731 S. Plymouth Ct., and though I’ve been there before, this recent visit was considerably  worse compared to past trips. I realized one thing: Our clinic needs immediate attention.

Students have seen the colorfully painted walls and elaborate, swanky furniture displayed throughout our campus buildings, but after taking one step inside our clinic you forget you are still on Columbia’s campus. Upon entering the clinic, I was greeted by a man behind the counter. This person was friendly and welcoming—what any sick person would have wanted to encounter if he or she was feeling under the weather.

I took my seat and waited to be seen by the nurse practitioner or an available physician. As I waited, I noticed a girl—extremely sick, coughing, sneezing and congested—filling out paperwork. The person behind the counter took the paperwork from the sick girl and then called me back into the clinic.I went into a room and the same person who handled the girl’s germ-infested paperwork, went on to take my temperature without washing or sanitizing his hands.

After the person took my temperature, he threw the thermometer cap in the trash, missed the basket, picked the trash up off the floor, then came right back over to take my blood pressure. No hand washing or sanitizing took place after touching the trash either. As a minor germaphobe, my skin was crawling at this point.

Once the nurse practitioner came in to see me, I had a few questions and was hoping she would answer them. Rather than answering them, she seemed to downplay my concerns.

After finding out what medicine she was prescribing, I told her I had been prescribed the same thing before by a family doctor at a higher dosage because the lower dosage was ineffective. Her response was, “Let’s just wait and see what happens.” How reassuring.

Then she couldn’t log on to the computer to print me the prescription, so I waited. The nurse didn’t have a prescription pad and after asking several co-workers, it appeared no one in the clinic had anything to write a prescription on. So back out to the waiting room I went. In total, I waited more than 30 minutes for a prescription.

The cost for the clinic per semester is relatively low and affordable compared to most colleges, and it is convenient in that it’s open five days a week with accommodating hours. However, the clinic is in dire need of more funding and not for the sake of aesthetic purposes but rather to function properly and be adequately staffed.  Maybe some of the money used to furnish the hallways and lounges of our campus buildings  could be funneled into the clinic to keep students happy and healthy.