Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Welty Health Center receives mixed reviews from students

The Welty Health Center, open to students 24 hours a day and recently ranked second best college health center  in the nation by the Princeton Review, receives mixed reports from students. Claudia Ness, director of the health center, says it aims above all to keep the entirety of the Whitman student population healthy while continuing to expand its services.

“Each student and each different situation is treated with respect and confidentiality. The nursing staff is very nurturing and caring; they take their responsibility to the Whitman students seriously,” said Ness.

The health center established an evening clinic this academic year in hopes of better meeting students’ needs. Physicians now have office hours in the later evenings in an attempt to be able to treat a higher volume of students. Ness hopes that if any students have thoughts on services that could be provided at the health center, they will contact her.

“My experiences with the health center have been mostly positive. There are a wide variety of resources I have used successfully, be it getting prescriptions or flu shots,” said first-year Miriam Moran. “Overall, it has been an extremely useful resource with many different and helpful resources.”

Not all Whitman students have had positive and enriching experiences while in the care of the health center staff, though.

Senior Paul Kruss has been dissatisfied with treatment received in the health center for serious illness. During his freshman year, while afflicted with a severe case of tonsillitis, Kruss was told by health center staff that he probably had a cold and was given ibuprofen. He later found out from his normal off-campus practitioner that he needed fairly immediate surgery. During Kruss’ sophomore year, he said he came down with swine flu but was seemingly forgotten in one of the back beds by Welty staff.

“I had swine flu and was mostly unconscious for three days in the health center, and the nurses weren’t even aware I was back in one of the beds,” said Kruss. “All of this being said, nobody has ever been rude or mean to me at the health center. The people who work there, for the most part, are very kind and understanding. For minor problems, I think the health center can be a great resource, but they seriously need to send people to the hospital if they don’t know what’s wrong with [them]. Both of my major experiences at the health center have taught me never to go there if I think my problem is anything other than strep throat, mono or a minor flu.”

Other members of the comparative college group, the Panel of 14, have health centers that offer services relatively similar to that of the Welty Health Center. Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., has a Student Health and Counseling center which offers the standard slew of services such as walk-in care for minor illness, prescriptions and appointments with physicians. This is the same for Reed College in Portland, Ore., and Occidental College in Pasadena, Calif. However, none of the other health centers are open to students at any time of the day or night. Reed, Carleton and Occidental’s health centers close their doors between 5:30 and 6 p.m. After-hours care, even if for minor illness, is provided by local clinics or hospitals, not university health centers.

“I am very defensive towards the health center because I feel that people are far too quick to criticize them for little mistakes or bad interactions,” said junior Anna Dawson.  “I think those people ought to stop and recognize how lucky we are to have them at all and to appreciate what a difficult and, at times, extremely unpleasant job that they have on their hands. Stop complaining, give them a break and think about how hard they work to keep students safe and healthy!”

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