If you’re a student at Pitt and you’ve found yourself coming down with something — be it a cold, pink eye or even something as severe as bronchitis — you’ve probably also found yourself questioning whether or not it’s worth it to go the student health center. I know I’ve found myself there plenty of times, wondering if it’d be better to tough it out and let whatever ailment I could have run its course, or to instead brave the chaos that is the student health center. If you’re anything like me, you’ll most likely end up going to the health center anyways.
Located next to Nordenburg Hall, the student health center is easy to find and access. However, the moment you walk in the waiting room, it’s typically pure chaos. You’ll find yourself in a long line out the door, waiting to talk to one of the few receptionists there. If you’re lucky enough to have an appointment, you can check in and expect to be in and out within forty minutes max. If you’re there for a walk-in, you may be there for the entire afternoon, so make sure you grab one of the few available seats left.
After signing in on the computers, which are fairly user friendly, you’ll find yourself waiting with a variety of students. From the sheer number of people there, it’s clear that this visit will take some time. The range of people you meet there could be anyone with a cold to someone with full blown pneumonia. Seeing the amount of illnesses being treated at the student health center, it’s clear there needs to be more doctors, or at least more specialization.
The waiting can be a bit frustrating, but when you realize how many students are being looked after, just on that particular day, you realize the employees are doing the best they can. Nurses are constantly calling out new names and ushering patients back to be seen like clockwork. There’s never a moment when the waiting room isn’t busy, as there’s always a demand for health care. Given the constraints they have, the health center does its best to try and make sure every patient is seen in a timely manner.
Once you’re done waiting, the visit itself is fairly quick. The nurses and doctors work fast, making sure to get all the information they can and spend as much time with you and listening to your concerns as possible. Every experience I’ve had there, I’ve found my provider to be sympathetic and intelligent on each issue. They’ve always been available to me over the phone or the portal to message if I have any further concerns. It’s clear they do care for each individual patient, and want to come up with the best possible solution for each case as well. The problem with the health center boils down to the fact they lack the proper resources to service around 30,000 students each year.
The student health center is a great option for your health needs, but the problem lies within the significant inequality between the amount of health care providers and the amount of students. There are simply too many students at Pitt to be properly treated for by the number of staff provided. Those who are there to help do a great job, providing a diagnosis and if needed, a prescription, but the lack of availability of appointments and the crowded walk-in times show the need for a change. If Pitt wants to continue to provide the services they do at the student health center, they’re going to need to look for a way to make it larger.