What You Can Expect from Campus Health Services

As a college student, you might find it's more convenient to visit on-campus health services versus making a trip to a doctor's office. But have you ever wondered what kind of campus health services might be available to you? We recently spoke with Diane Tappe, Luther's director of student health service, to get answers to a few questions that you might find helpful.

What are some of the most common reasons why a student would visit an on-campus health service?

Diane: Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Respiratory infections (e.g., colds, coughs, and sore throats)
  • Mental health (e.g., anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress management, and medication management)
  • Injuries
  • Sexual health (e.g., screenings and treatment of infections)

How does Health Service work with off-campus resources (e.g., hospitals and clinics)?

Diane: Health Service plays a critical role in retention and academic success. We provide students direct access to quality affordable primary care, nursing services, coordination of mental health services, nutrition services, pharmacy delivery services, laboratory services, travel consultations, preventative interventions, and health promotion, all conveniently on campus.

Health Service providers and nursing staff facilitate seamless referrals off campus with specialty and ancillary services at the local hospital and clinics. This collaborative approach provides continuity of care and optimizes the best health outcomes for the student.

Health Service also works with campus partners to create a network of care around students. This includes counseling services, disability services, student support services, coaches, campus ministry, and residence life.

Why would a student choose to see someone at on on-campus health service versus going to a clinic/hospital with a medical concern?

Diane: Health Service professionals are experts at handling student health because they are especially attuned to the unique stressors and needs of college students. A campus Health Service physician will provide direct care but will also look at how the student is doing academically and socially and what may be happening in the residence halls. Urgent care clinics or local hospital employees are trained to handle health care differently, and the specialized service of handling a college student population can be lost.  

What role does Health Service play when a student has or may have an allergy?

Diane: Health Service offers allergen immunotherapy or allergy shots in collaboration with a student's allergist. This requires an intake appointment and directives from the student's physician. Depending on the severity of an allergy or allergic reaction, Health Service can help with treatment and/or offer a provider appointment.

Is a physical required prior to entering college?

Diane: An entrance physical including an updated record of immunizations is required prior to entering college.

Does Health Service maintain health records while a student is at college?

Diane: All health records are confidential and retained in Health Service during students' college years and for ten years after graduation.

What other services does Health Service offer to students?

Diane: Health Service can help students with medication management as more students are arriving on campus with more complex and chronic health conditions and more challenging mental health concerns.

Health Service also provides preventative intervention including outreach flu clinics and vaccine compliance for prevention of communicable disease. On-campus health clinics aren't just about care but also prevention, outreach, and an understanding of why students are ill.

An investment in college health is central to the mission of learning. Students whose health is thriving and flourishing have greater ability and readiness to learn and engage in meaningful educational experiences.