Health Center head nurse resigns from position mid-flu season

STAT agency nurse takes over head nurse position

Written By Sara Cronin, For The Globe

Student Health nurse, Katie Leslie, resigned from her position at Point Park two weeks before the end of the 2018 fall semester.

“The previous nurse was unable to continue doing the job, but it was nothing job-related,” Stephanie Wertz said, who is the administrative assistant at the Student Health Center. “She had to resign and we’re in the process of going through resumes and interviewing people. We’re filling the position just like any other position.”

Wertz explained that the Student Health Center has had a nurse present since Leslie left. Students were still able to seek medical help and guidance from the Health Center despite Leslie’s absence.

“Our loss was nothing more than a personal problem,” Michael Gieseke, the Dean of Student Life said

The University would not release any further information on her resignation.

Though Leslie resigned from her position two weeks before the winter break, the night nurse, Kristen Lukhaupt, started to fill the position at the Student Center until the end of the 2018 fall semester.

“Right now we have an agency nurse,” said Wertz. “She’s here until we hire an official university nurse, and we are fully staffed the same hours.”

The agency nurse is from the STAT agency: a local recruiting firm that provides hire placements for nurses and other professionals in the medical field.

The Student Health Center, located on the second floor of Thayer Hall, can help students by providing over-the-counter medicine and flu shots, and is also available if a student needs a person to talk to.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity, or flu season, peaks between the months of December and February.

The Health Center has already put in an effort to combat the health issues that arrive with the upcoming flu season, as well as with the return of students at the start of a new semester. Since students at Point Park share everything from close living quarters to classrooms, it’s not hard for a virus to spread across the University’s small campus.

“Monday, the first day back, we were super busy. Everyone was starting to pass around their germs again. I anticipate it’s going to be like that for a couple months,” Wertz said.

Wertz explained that she put together cold and flu comfort bags last week that were available for students who were visiting the Health Center.

The bags included tissues, cough drops, tea bags, a thermometer and a sheet that provided easy-to-follow advice to help alleviate symptoms that come with the common cold and flu.

“They are doing their job, but they’re doing it in a kind way that makes you feel like you’re welcome and able to come back if you ever have another issue,” Sophie Burkholder said. Burkholder is a freshman political science major who has visited the Health Center twice.

“They let you know that this is the place you can come to for resources regarding your health.” She said.

If there is a situation that the Health Center decides needs further attention from a doctor, the UPMC doctor’s office on Sixth Avenue works with the Health Center to make appointments for students.

“We have several appointments during the day that they save for us and we send [students] down there. As far as going down and seeing a physician, that is covered by the student’s health fee,” Wertz said.

While appointments at the UPMC office are important, Gieseke believes that the health center on campus is a vital first step.

“It’s important that students use the Health Center here. They’re able to answer questions, give advice, and steer students in the right direction,” said Gieseke.