The Center for Health and Wellness at Keene State College has made some changes to begin the Spring 2015 semester.

The health center now has set walk-in hours. Students can come for treatment without an appointment Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and Tuesdays, Thursdays 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The health center sent out an email to students last week that detailed why the changes were made.

The email said the process will make the health center more organized and hopefully eliminate frustration of a crowded waiting room full of other sick students.

Christine Burke, the director of the Center for Health and Wellness, elaborated on the changes the health center had implemented, “We needed to manage the flow of students better.”

Jake Coughlin / Administrative Executive Editor

Jake Coughlin / Administrative Executive Editor

Burke said the old system, which consisted of open doors, walk-in hours at all times and self-check-in computers to schedule appointments wasn’t effective with the amount of students that needed assistance.

Burke said some students, especially first-year students, used the health center the way they would back in previous schooling.

“On their way back they would just stop by, kind of like when you’re in high school and you’re walking back from the cafeteria and you might stop by the school nurse to ask them a question,” she said.

This walk-in system grew even more cumbersome last semester when the health center saw a 20 percent increase in usage from the year before.

Burke said there was just a significant amount of illness last fall.

The waiting room is now behind the doors of the actual medical area, with the self-check-in computers mounted on the wall to take up less space.

However, the adjustments haven’t come without some technical difficulties, as the health center suffered its first technical hiccup the third day using the new system.

The problems subsided though, and things were running back to normal by 1:30 p.m. that day.

“There were computer problems when I first got here, but after that was over everything was well. It was quick and they answered some questions for me,” Mike Mazur said.

Mazur, a KSC student, had never experienced the old organization of the health center, but said he thought everything went fine in his first experience.

Burke explained that while the health center wants to help as many students as possible, there needed to be some guidelines as to when to schedule an appointment and when to just walk in.

There used to be times when a student just had a sore throat and wanted some cough drops but would be stuck in a line behind others without appointments, Burke noted.

Essentially, the new system is encouraging students to schedule an appointment unless they have one of these specified ailments: common cough/cold, fever, sore throat, ear pain, UTI, emergency contraception or minor injuries.

An appointment should be scheduled by phone for any other medical problem.

“Every person on our medical staff is working on the walk-ins. There are no scheduled appointments during that two hour walk-in period,” Burke said. Another new feature in the redesigned waiting room is the Self-Care Health Education Station.

At this station students have access to basic medication such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, as well as items like condoms, cough drops and band aids. It will also have education on some basic health issues.

Burke said she thinks this will become popular, especially for students that come in expecting to wait for their basic over-the-counter products.

Nate Wirta, another student at KSC, said he was unaware of the new self-care station, “I haven’t been to the health center since the change, but it’s cool knowing that I can just stop by and grab something if I have a headache after class.”

Burke said the transition to this new system has gone well so far, though the sample size is too small to declare it an overnight success.

“I would ask for students to be patient. I encourage students to give us feedback however they feel comfortable, and we’ll probably do some evaluation as the semester goes on,” she said.

Skyler Frazer can be contacted at sfrazer@keene-equinox.com