Sharing Our Story: Health Services is In the Student Success Business
In the broader scope of educational programs within California Community Colleges, we in health services are functionally unique because, for the most part, we’re off the college radar, taking care of students with chief complaints ranging from “soup to nuts.” Within our Student Health Services (SHS) daily lives we are typically found screening for risk factors, taking histories, completing physical assessments and performing health interventions. Legally, though we’re not able to share any specific information about what actually goes on a day-to-day basis in our offices. Federal HIPAA laws mandate that everything we do in health care of students must remain strictly confidential.
Making a difference in the lives of our patients is simply what we do every day, albeit in quiet respect for the personal nature of maintaining student health. Alternatively, in the real world, we also must remain keenly aware that if we don’t actively market our programs, continually perform student outreach, talk about learning outcomes and undertake essential grant work, how else shall we inform our college and community how truly critical our work with students is?
Indeed, we know that without continuous student health services outreach, our overall student visits and productivity drastically declines. Moreover, unless we tell our stories of student successes and sing our SHS program praises, health services will certainly be in jeopardy of losing our seat at the table to secure support for scarce resources and influence decision-makers to keep important programs intact and thriving. Furthermore, without active program endorsement, administrators, legislators and key decision-makers will fail to realize how essential our work is in keeping students engaged, enrolled and able to persist, achieving the overall goal to complete degrees and certificates; in short, achieving consistent and measurable student successes. Clearly our SHS programs make measurable differences in student achievement, so we need to aggressively share our story.
As I write my first President’s Message, your 2017-2018 HSACCC Executive Board is working hard to compose and share our essential story with the CCC State Chancellor’s Office. This includes descriptions of college health best practices, highlighting specific exemplary service models, articulating the importance and efficiency of an integrated health care model as well as highlighting individual challenges we face for keeping our services funded, appropriately staffed and pushing for Title V. qualified re-hires as seasoned nursing directors retire or separate from their positions.
As we move forward with a plan for higher value and visibility, we’ll share specific favorable outcome data and documented successes with a broader statewide audience. We will also endeavor to describe the essential work we do in student health across the California Community College system in a variety of ways, including the following key areas.
First, we have started work developing an HSACCC Chancellor’s Office (CO) Web page. In recognition of our first web-defined “Exemplary Health Services Program”, we will highlight Santa Rosa Junior College. The 2015-16 Program Review data published at SRJC shows that when their students access health services during their enrollment period, they are more likely to persist achieving individual course successes, as well as obtaining vocational certificates and go on to complete Associate’s Degrees. More details on this to come as the CO web site is finalized for debut.
Next, let’s recreate an original HSACCC Newsletter feature with contributions from the membership! Years ago, one of our pioneering members wrote and mailed a hardcopy newsletter known as “The Stethoscope”. I plan to begin our correspondence again with informative pieces of new clinical products; share methods for mitigating new or unique student health challenges; tell new member/director stories; describing what’s newsworthy in California’s legislative arena; and posting our rich NCHA and Annual Survey data to standardize best practice in student health. I plan to resurrect and enhance an online, bi-annual newsletter and invite everyone to take part in the writing of topical sections important to our membership!
In closing, early next year I invite you to join us on February 20, 21 and 22; we will hold our annual meeting on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, returning to Asilomar State Conference Grounds. I have just learned that our program will welcome several of our original founding members back to share their stories of how HSACCC evolved during our formative years. As we move forward, we felt it was important to recognize our organizational framework, continuing to evolve and grow in our mission to serve student’s success. I am honored to serve as the 2017-18 President, please join us as we endeavor to share our story!