Health center could use a boost in faculty

posted in: Opinion | 0

Over the past few years there have been many issues that have graced the opinion pages of The Pacific Index. One of the most central and frequently recurring of these themes, however, has been the impact of the now rapidly growing student body on Pacific’s campus.

It is no secret that Pacific’s infrastructure has not been sufficiently adapted to accommodate the population increase, particularly on the Forest Grove campus.

From overcrowded residence halls to the slow decay of essential but old buildings, there has been no shortage of problems to plague our growing university.

Yet one of the most important issues has largely fallen by the wayside in our school-wide discussion, namely the ever increasing strain on Pacific’s health and wellness facilities, as well as the counseling center.

For many traditional college students, this is the time of life where one starts to take over the responsi- bilities of their own medical care from their parents.

Navigating the medical world for the first time can be scary. At this important crossroads in life, Pacific should aim to make this transition easier.Yet in practice the opposite seems to be the case. Lack of resources takes a figurative magnifying glass to problems that already exist.

Our current medical facilities were built for a much smaller university than the one we are quickly becoming.This problem is clearly evident in the field of mental health. I have had many close friends look to our facilities for help with various mental health

issues, and all too often it is the same story. To get even an initial appointment can sometimes take a week or longer.

Then, once you are at the first appointment, you may not even be seeing the correct person for your problem, and if so, you’ll have to be referred to someone else.

This can take even longer. I’ve been witness to cases where it took weeks before a student could finally see the right specialist. For somebody with serious depression or even suicide ideation, the dif- ference a week makes can be crucial.

Even walk-in appointments can be difficult to come by, as one must compete with the rest of campus for a one hour slot on weekdays from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

To be clear, I am not at all trying to complain about the staff. I strongly believe they are passionate about their jobs and honestly desire to help every- one get the treatment they need, to the best of their abilities.

At the end of the day though, that’s the prob- lem: their ability to do anything is severely limited. Though these people are charitable with their time, they aren’t supermen. There is not enough money or manpower to truly accommodate the needs of Pacific’s student body.

In order to be able to accomodate all of the needs of the student body, there needs to be an upgrade. While the facilities of the health and wellness centers did just recently move into a new building, there are still not enough faculty and staff there to support the number of students and community members that it is supposed to care for.

There are roughly a thousand people who live on campus and there are even more who do not but still use the facilities.

With the school hoping to attempt to raise the number of undergraduates to 2,000 in the near fu- ture, how will the current facilities hope to be able to handle that large of an influx of patients?

Students on campus are especially susceptible to falling ill with stress from school and living in such close quarters with a large number of other people. Because students are so susceptible, when there is an illness in a few students, it tends to move through the population like a germy wildfire.

When there are so many students on campus who are getting ill, there needs to be a sufficient number of staff members to be able to support and treat students who are feeling under the weather.

Having students that are being told to wait a week to be able to see a professional can be harmful and frustrating to the students. The more days that students have to wait in order to get help, the more days of classes that might be missed or the chances of them doing poorer in classes rises.

If Pacific University’s motto is excellence, how are students expected to be able to continue to per- form at their utmost abilities if they are being told to wait a week or more to be able to see a professional for their maladies?

We are a school supposedly obsessed with health. We have an entire campus in Hillsboro devot- ed to the health professions, and the administration has been relentless in attempting to pass a smoking ban here at the Forest Grove campus. But where are the resources needed to service the health of our student body?

Pacific’s growth is causing an infrastructure problem that needs to be addressed. If we ignore this issue, we do so at the expense of the health of our student body.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *