Experienced staff provides wide variety of health services

All registered students may use the health center services; most are free. (Oliver Yu)

Nadia Afredi

From free condoms funded by the Associated Student Government, to the many pamphlets about serious medical topics such as nutrition and flu syndromes, the Health Center has it all.

“We’re a pretty dynamic Health Center,” said Monica Nelson, a registered nurse at the center.

When registering for a class on campus, students are required to pay a mandatory health insurance fee. In summer, the fee is $14 and for the fall and spring semesters, the fee is $17. Once the fees are paid, students are eligible for free access to the center. Distance learning students will not be able to take advantage of the center, unless they wish to and will then have to pay the fee.

“During the fall semester, probably 100 students come in a day,” Nelson said.
Having free medical coverage available from an experienced medical doctor for a whole semester, and at no cost, is just one of the many services that is offered by the Health Center at Saddleback College.

The center can be described as a mini urgent health care center, Nelson said. The fee that is mandatory for every on-site student also allows access to testing for sexually transmitted diseases, treating sore throats, headaches, flu syndromes, and providing information about nutrition, diseases, and many more.

“The services here exceed many services that are provided by any other community college in California,” she said.

The clinic has undergone some improvements. The food clinic has been modified and now, diets are being reviewed for students, Nelson said. The amount of physician coverage has been increased. On Mondays and Wednesdays a general medical doctor is available to all patients and on Thursdays a gynecologist is available for women. Services such as pap smears and pregnancy tests are available to female students.

“We treat the whole person,” Nelson said.

Many counseling services are available that deal with depression and how to cope or manage stress or a crisis in life, Nelson said.

Counselors freely give out psychological help and will even test for attention deficit disorder.  Nelson said that counseling is also available to any student who feels they have been sexually assaulted. Health hotlines and other useful tips are available on the center’s Web site. Most of the appointments made in the center are usually scheduled for various counseling sessions, Nelson said.

“Students should know that all counseling sessions are private,” Nelson said. “We have a great group of counseling interns to provide private counseling sessions, which are directed by Dr. Tina Freeland.”

Freeland, a doctorate in psychology, gives up time from her own private practice to supervise the counseling interns. Freeland is on hand to address any major counseling issues that arise at the college. Nelson hopes to expand the center’s services even more. Her goal is to make the medications that are prescribed to enrolled students be free of charge and to expand medical awareness in the community.

She longs for even more physician hours in order to accommodate more students and to also be able to counsel college students on how to deal with the stress that college life can easily offer.

“The most important thing is to get students to stay well in order for them to focus on their education,” Nelson said.
 Appointments must be scheduled. Once scheduled, a time frame of one hour is allotted and set aside for the patient.

The center readily offers its services to the students and has quick responses to any emergency that is taking place on campus.

Walk-ins are taken, but not guaranteed for full service, especially if an emergency takes place. It all depends on what type of day the center is facing, Nelson said.

The Health Center is located in the Student Services Center Room 177 and is open year round, with the exception of holidays and weekends. On Mondays-Thursdays, the center is open 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. and on Fridays the center is open from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Contact the health center at 949-582-4606 or walk-in to SSC Room 177 to make an appointment.   

For more information, visit www.saddleback.edu/ss/shs

In addition to the many services offered, numerous materials are also available. (Nadia Afredi)

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