To students at colleges across the nation, the phrase “Student Health Services” may bring to mind images of long lines and unhelpful doctors and nurses. To Temple students, however, despite complaints about waiting, just the opposite appears to be true as Director Joseph Rudy and Assistant Director Mark Denys have made it their priority to help.
“The nurse was so nice,” said Carlisa Robinson, a sophomore accounting major who recently visited SHS for the second time. “The doctor had a real conversation with me.”
SHS sees approximately 140 people a day, or 10,000 patients a semester, almost equal to the roughly 150 patients that Temple’s Emergency Room sees daily.
One third of those patients show up without an appointment.
“We are primarily a walk-in clinic,” said Joseph Rudy, director of SHS. The clinic blocks off one third of all appointments daily so to handle students that decide not to make an appointment. The busiest days for the clinic are Mondays and Fridays.
After a student is through the waiting process, they are seen by a triage nurse who categorizes them and helps to determine who needs priority care. Students wait again after the nurse to see a doctor.
“I was satisfied with the doctor and nurse,” said sophomore Aelon Porat. “They even offered me the phone to call someone and let them know I would be late.” The clinic asks patients fill out a survey about their experience.
“The results have been overwhelmingly positive,” said Rudy. “By and large, the number of good ones versus bad ones is good.”
Many students still have complaints about waiting time.
“Every visit I had to wait 25-45 minutes, 25 was with an appointment,” sophomore Kamil Abdoullaev said.
“There’s no fail-safe way to make sure nobody is waiting. Especially with a walk-in clinic,” said Rudy, who has experience working in other offices outside of SHS.
Students pay $60 a semester for access to the services provided by SHS. Costs for health services at other universities can balloon into hundreds or thousands of dollars.
“Our fees are among the lowest,” Denys said. “We’re a bargain.”
Justin Mahwikizi, a senior and an international business and finance major agreed, “There’s no other alternative for a very poor Temple student.”
“We’re sensitive to the costs that students face,” Rudy said.
Student Health Services is slated to move across from Speakman Hall, where they will have 19 examination rooms.
“We’re going to more than double our size,” Denys said.
Adding extra space is one of several reforms planned. A student Health Advisory Committee is planned so the clinic can directly hear from representatives of the student body about what can be improved.
“We want to hear what you as a student expect from us,” Rudy said. “I can’t promise we’ll do it, but down the road, if we can address that, we’d like to do it.”
Denys suggests that students who have had a problem with SHS should e-mail him. “We can’t fix something if we don’t know it’s broken,” he said.
Tulin Ozturk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.