We’re wrapping up our coverage of some good-to-know topics for parents and families as we all gear up for the start of school. One of the areas we want to talk about this week is the Student Health Service.
Some of you might remember your own alma maters’ student health service and you might recall a not-too-sophisticated operation (I heard someone once describe theirs as ‘a nurse dispensing aspirin’ sort of office). I am here to tell you that is not the case at Wake Forest. Your students have a wealth of medical expertise and services at their fingertips here. As one of the clinicians told a group of parents once, “consider us your students’ Primary Care Physicians while they are at school.”
Here are a few Student Health Service links of interest:
Services – your students have access to both preventive and urgent care, care for chronic illnesses, allergy shots and immunizations, gynecological services, a pharmacy, psychiatric consultation, and more. And if your student has any kind of chronic medical issue, please urge him or her to contact the Student Health Service either before the semester starts or early on in the semester to make sure that the Student Health Service is aware and can be part of their health care team. This section also talks about fees and insurance, so it is helpful parent information.
There are times when the Student Health Service is closed. They do have a referral page for resources off campus in those times.
There is normally a flu vaccine clinic offered in the fall semester once the vaccine is available. Information about that will be available on the Parents’ Page once we announce it. We’ll also announce it on the Parents’ Facebook and Twitter accounts
One of the questions we get most often in the Parent Programs office is “what if my student is sick and I want to talk to his/her doctors at Student Health?” Our Student Health Service answered that for us on our Parents Page Questions and Answers section on Healthcare – but we’ll put there answer here for you:
“What if my student is ill? Do I get notified, and if so, how?
If a parent calls asking to speak with a staff member of the Student Health Service, the parent will be told that we cannot discuss the care without the student’s permission. Health Service personnel will attempt to contact the student to get permission to discuss the provided healthcare if a parent calls. Parents can also ask their student to contact the Health Service to give permission to discuss the diagnosis and care. In some cases, students may have already provided this permission during the visit.
Parents are welcomed to call and speak to a Health Service clinician; however, information concerning the diagnosis and treatment of the student cannot be provided to the parent without the student’s permission.
In general for non-emergency cases, the Health Service will not notify parents of their children’s illnesses or visits unless directed to do so by the student. In urgent or emergent situations, we usually ask for permission to contact parents.
Permission to discuss care is generally limited to a particular problem; if the student returns at a later date for a different concern, permission again would need to be provided by the student before Health Service personnel would be able to provide information about the new illness or injury.”
So one of the things you may want to talk about with your students before they come to school is whether you’d like them to consider granting permission for Student Health to talk to you if they get sick and are in Student Health. That is a personal decision of course, but it might be good to establish expectations now so your student has a game plan, vs trying to get him to think about those things when he has the flu at school and he is not thinking about those kinds of procedural things.
And just an editorial aside: I would trust our Student Health Service doctors and nurses with my own family’s care. They are terrific folks, very well qualified. You should feel very comfortable entrusting them with your students.