Letter to the editor: a response from the student health director regarding a students’ experiences at Wellness Center

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Patricia Haddeland , Student Health and Wellness Center Director

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To the Editor of the Linfield Review,

Recently a student wrote a letter to the editor calling into question care received at the Student Health, Wellness and Counseling Center. It saddened me to read it. While I will not and cannot go into specifics about any student, I’d like to address what students can and should expect when engaged in care at Linfield’s Health Center.

First, you can expect that your safety is our priority. If a health condition is putting your safety at risk, you can expect we will do everything we can to intervene. Note, however, that we are primary care providers and counselors and sometimes the care you need is beyond our scope of practice and expertise. You can expect we will know the limitations of our scope and we will refer you to a specialist if that is the appropriate course of action. This is true whether the issue is an unusually high blood sugar, an irregular heartbeat or a severe and persistent mental illness. In McMinnville, for situations that require urgent medical attention, the Emergency Department at Willamette Valley Medical Center is the likely next level of care.

If there is immediate risk of danger to a student, the Health Center, or a member of the university administration will take steps to notify the emergency contact you provided to Linfield.

Second, you can expect your medical and counseling information to be treated in a confidential manner.

Third, we function within the context of a university system and a primary goal of a student is to participate in the educational endeavor. If a medical condition prevents a student from engaging toward that goal for a significant length of time or is so severe as to warrant all the student’s efforts and energy, a Medical Leave of Absence may be offered; again, there are myriad of conditions that apply.

Fourth, you can expect to be asked to be an active participant in your care. The university is not a hospital or residential treatment facility. If you cannot be actively engaged in your own care, you can expect we will recommend a higher level of care than can be provided on campus.

Fifth, the client or patient is the primary concern to the provider. However, we understand the individual and their environment influence each other. If either is negatively influencing the other, we may offer a variety of remedies including support, intervention or accommodations.

Finally, you can expect to be treated with respect by members of the team. While sometimes we must provide uncomfortable perspectives and even bad news, it should be done in a way that communicates regard and concern. You have the option of moving care to another provider if you prefer. If you have a complaint, we will listen and respond.

We will never claim to be perfect, but I believe everyone at the Health Center is qualified, engaged and has your best interests at heart. I encourage anyone to come see me if you have questions, concerns or suggestions.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Patty Haddeland, Director of Student Health and Wellness