From: Public Affairs
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It is normal to rely on your neighbor, so when the neighbor up and moves, even just a few miles down the road, it takes some adjusting.
"We have had a year of anticipation and planning, knowing Rockingham Memorial Hospital was moving. We are ramping up our ability to provide additional services to our students," said Dr. Stephen Rodgers, medical director of the UHC.
Dr. Andrew T. Guertler, a former emergency room doctor at Augusta Medical Center, was hired in September. Guertler is scheduled daily to assist walk-in patients, particularly those in need of immediate attention.
Sophomore Christine Tedesco, who suffered a severe foot injury the week before classes began this fall, recently worried that she might be developing an infection.
"I scheduled an appointment that morning and originally had a nurse practitioner, but she went and found Dr. Guertler because he had more knowledge, 25 years of ER experience, so I was really lucky," said Tedesco. "He was so helpful and nice. Nothing was seriously wrong, which is good, and I'm so relieved I went."
Rodgers said the absence of an emergency room next door has led to some other significant changes in service. Students can receive stitches for cuts, splints for suspected fractures and IV fluids.
Nurse manager Kristina Blyer, says with additional services to students comes additional training for her nursing staff. "We have entered a contractual agreement with RMH for our nurses to get 'hands-on' training at RMH," said Blyer. While training at RMH, the UHC nursing staff will administer IVs and work in the emergency department fast-track service.
UHC has also greatly expanded the number of lab tests they can offer students by utilizing the state's contract with Lab Corp. Rodgers said this is a significant benefit for students with chronic diseases who need to have blood tested weekly or monthly.
There is no charge for a student's appointment at UHC, but there are charges associated with additional services. However, according to Rodgers, the rate is greatly reduced from what a hospital would charge.
In the near future UHC plans to apply technology to its acute-care services. Students will complete a questionnaire at the time of their self-check-in that will help the nurse or doctor quickly assess their condition. The next step is to take the process online so students can schedule an appointment and complete the questionnaire from their residence hall room or apartment.
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