Should I Stay or Should I Go . . . To the Student Health Center?

Students struggle to decide if they should go to Chapman University’s Student Health Center or an outside clinic. Illustration by Hannah Nazari.

Alexa Hollack’s face started to swell as spots began to cover her skin. What was happening? Then she realized. . . she was having an allergic reaction.

Alexa Hollack, a senior health sciences major. Photo courtesy of Hollack.

She didn’t know where to go.

She chose Chapman’s Student Health Center.

“I wanted to get treatment quickly and the Health Center was the most convenient option for me,” said the senior health sciences major. “It was much cheaper than the urgent care I typically go to.” 

Though many students like Hollack appreciate the convenience of the Student Health Center, some would rather go to an off-campus clinic for larger issues and others wish they would reintroduce walk-in appointments. However, many are unaware of all of what the Health Center offers.

Jacqueline Deats, the director of the Chapman Student Health Center. Photo courtesy of Deats.

The Student Health Center has an average of 8,000 visits each year, but this year has had only 3,306 visits as of March 4, according to the Director of the Student Health Center Jacqueline Deats.

Deats said the number of visits was lower last year due to remote instruction. She confirmed that the Health Center still has the number of staff to meet the needs of the amount of students coming in this year.

Because of this low traffic, most students aren’t aware of the services the Health Center offers, such as physician and gynecology appointments, as well as immunization testing and health screening.

Brierly Wand, a sophomore TV writing and production major. Photo courtesy of Wand.

“It’s a little weird that they have gynecologists, but honestly I would probably go there,” said sophomore Brierly Wand, a TV writing and production major.

Sophomore computer science major Olivia Chilvers didn’t know about one of the resources of what the Health Center had either.

“I didn’t expect them to have nice condoms,” she said. “It was cool they had them in the front because it makes it easier to grab without having to ask. Condoms are super expensive and they have both latex and non-latex so it’s super helpful.”

The condom container on the wall of the Student Health Center’s waiting room. Photo by Scott.

Still, these aren’t the least used services, according to Deats. The cardio services are the least used and the most used is the center’s ENT(Ear, Nose, Throat) services. 

Even with the numerous services offered, junior Emily McHorney would only use it for smaller health issues, despite having a good experience at the Health Center.

“I would go to my outside doctor for more serious issues,” said the biology major.

Similarly, some would rather go to an outside doctor, but financial constraints make the Health Center a realistic option.

“I would prefer to go to an outside doctor because I can walk in and get treated that day, but the Health Center is better for me financially, so I usually go there,” said sophomore SCC major River Gayton.

River Gayton, sophomore strategic and corporate communications major. Photo courtesy of Gayton.

She contributed her opinion to a time when she wasn’t examined properly at her first appointment.

“I had an okay experience,” said Gayton. “They were very nice, but it took me having to go there twice for them to actually listen to my lungs to determine that I had bronchitis.

Like Gayton, Hollack hopes that the Health Center will reestablish walk-in visits. 

“It was easy to make an appointment, but I wish that they had more availability for walk-ins because in my situation I needed medication pretty urgently,” she said. “I was lucky they were able to get me an appointment.”

Chapman’s Student Health Center’s waiting room. Photo by Scott.

Walk-in appointments used to be available prior to the pandemic, according to Deats.

“Walk-in appointments are no longer available to help limit the spread,” she said. “If we are not too busy, we have seen most students that walk in or try to schedule them as quickly as possible.”

While most mentioned that the Health Center was good for smaller issues, some felt that information on the center was difficult to find.

“I wish the phone number was easier to find,” said sophomore Natalia Garcia, a psychology and SCC double major.

Natalia Garcia, a sophomore psychology and SCC double major. Photo courtesy of Garcia.

McHorney had similar thoughts and added that the Health Center should promote more of its services.  

“I think more people would utilize the Health Center if they knew more information on what type of help they can get and that the information wasn’t as difficult to find,” said McHorney.

The Health Center works to promote its services in various ways. Deats said it provides information during orientation week, the “Healthy Panther” first-year orientation, the dean of students weekly announcement emails, its Instagram and website, and word-of-mouth.

The Health Center website provides its hours, open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Saturdays and Sundays. One student complained that it doesn’t have lunch hours posted.

An exam room in Chapman’s Student Health Center. Photo by Scott.

“It’s hard to find the times they are open at all,” said Chilvers. “The website doesn’t inform us of what time the staff has off for work.”

Despite some missing information on the website, many students appreciate its convenience. 

“It is a huge thing for me that makes me prefer the Health Center over outside doctors,” said Wand. 

McHorney agreed, but noted that many times were unavailable. 

“Making an appointment was easy for me when I did it, but there were really only early morning appointments right away,” she said.

Although most students noted the Health Center is often the most convenient for them.

“It was super easy,” said Chilvers. “I called about a Tuberculosis test for my job and they gave me a few times that I could show up and get it.”

Garcia had similar sentiments: 

“They are quick to see you and make it easy.”

Chapman University’s Student Health Center on the corner of Glassell Street and Walnut Avenue. Photo by Scott.
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Sydney Scott is a sophomore studying journalism and data analytics. When she isn't writing, you can find her reading various books, discovering hidden places, or riding her favorite attractions at Disneyland.