Since the American River College’s permanent nurse resigned in March of this year, students and staff have started to feel the effects of not having health services provided.
The health center, located in the enrollment services building, previously operated daily. Due to the vacancy of a full-time head medic position, the center is now open only on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Such change has had a big impact on students whose particular courses may use the location or put them at risk of suffering an injury.
Classes such as Nursing work with the health center but have been restricted to less availability. In addition, Culinary, Welding and Chemistry courses can potentially cause injuries to students in which medical attention would be required.
One department has suffered more than others, however. The Disabled Student Programs &Services or DSPS is responsible for ensuring students with disabilities experience the opportunity to participate fully on campus. Without the health center, many in the program have started to ask questions.
Toni Peters, a DSPS student personnel assistant, has encountered these inquiries numerous times this semester.
“The tight schedule has definitely affected us,” said Peters. “I have students come up and tell me they need to see the nurse and ask me why the health center is not open.”
Student medical assistant and current part time employee at the health center, Rebecca Douglas, put the issue of the nurse vacancy down to the qualifications demanded by the college to hire a new nurse.
“A master’s degree in Nursing is required for all applicants,” said Douglas. “Anyone with that type of education expects great pay from their job and sadly this position does not offer bonuses hospitals and other places do.”
Student Liz Caro, a Social Science major, stressed the importance of having the health center open at all times, despite her lack of visits to the building.
“Thankfully I’ve never had an accident or had to use the nurse here,” said Caro. “But I think it needs to be open every day. You never know when a bad accident or injury can happen.”
Nearly eight months after the resignation of the former nurse, the school is still in search of a full-time replacement.
The lack of applicants has caused concern among staff but the effort is being made according to the Dean of Enrollment Services, Robin Neil.
“Trust me, it’s causing me real sadness that the health center is not open as often as it should be,” said Neil. “But the position has been advertised and we have extended the date for people to apply before we start reviewing those in contention.”
Despite her anguish, she had some positive news for all of those who had worries about the issue.
“We have just hired another part-time nurse,” said Neil. “Starting November first the health center will be open Monday through Thursday.”