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The Simpsonian

Our View: What the health? Students deserve more health services

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It’s a late Thursday night.

You finally slowed down enough from your hectic schedule to be aware of your body.

You notice a tickle in your throat when your head hits the pillow. No time to worry about it now. You’re lucky to get the five or six hours of sleep that you do, and you’re not about to squander it worrying about a minor nuisance.

Yet the next morning, it’s no surprise to find yourself sniffling, caught in fits of sneezing and coughing. Your throat feels like sandpaper. The solution seems simple: Go see the nurse.

Unfortunately, such is not the case for Simpson students most days.

You’ll have to take the virus you picked up Thursday night to one of the clinics in town.

And if you’re not insured? Hope you’re ready to suffer through until Tuesday because that’s the earliest time the nurse is back on campus.

Better take care of it quickly, too, because she’ll be gone again by Thursday night.

At a college of more than 1,000 students each paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees, the institution can only afford to employ one part-time nurse.

Students fend for themselves whenever she is unavailable.

This is not enough.

This is not to say that Katie Lee isn’t adequate at her job, and we do not blame her for her limited availability. Students, more than anyone, understand schedules filled to the brim.

The nurse is doing her best with what’s available to her, and we appreciate her efforts.

We understand the school’s tough financial situations right now as a result of declining enrollment, but that is no excuse for not taking care of students who often feel they can’t afford the time to take care of their health.

Missing a single class can mean suffering grades and falling behind for the rest of the semester.

Attendance policies can even be as strict as lowering your grade for an absence not for a school-sanctioned event or with a doctor’s note. When the nurse isn’t available, it’s nearly impossible for students without health insurance to see a physician outside of school.

Some colleges similar to Simpson are doing it right.

Loras College has two nurses and Luther has three, according to their websites. Augustana College in Illinois provides around-the-clock health care through Unity Point-Trinity free to students through the college, and they offer free transportation to any medical appointments. University of Dubuque has free student health services with access to a Unity Point clinic for all of their students.

It’s time for Simpson to step up.

This could mean offering coverage at an off-campus clinic in town, a full-time nurse or at least more than one part-time nurse.

Students shouldn’t feel they have to neglect their health and suffer through pain because they lack the resources when they’re away from home. It’s up to our second home to help keep us healthy.

The Simpsonian welcomes responsible replies to this editorial.

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