College Intends to Restore

 

By Gerry Boyle '78
 

After a year of limited hours, the Health Center will revert to round-the-clock coverage in the fall-if suitable staff can be hired, College officials said.

The reduction in hours was under consideration in 2003 when the College was unable to hire staff because of an ongoing shortage of nurses in Maine, Health Center hours were reduced to daytime coverage only beginning in the fall. That brought the services in line with most of Colby's peer colleges. But in February it was decided that the College would return to full round-the-clock hours beginning in September, if possible.

"The College had always said we were going to use this year to evaluate and determine the future of '24-7,'" said Vice President for Student Affairs Janice Kassman. "The only reason we eliminated it this year is because we couldn't find the nurses."

In a related matter, the College rethought a plan to add a full-time health educator to the Health Center staff. That plan would have displaced two Health Center staffers. After concerns were raised by the Health Care Advisory Committee and the College Affairs Committee, along with students and staff, the reorganization was changed to use existing staff to fulfill the growing education mission of the Health Center.

Objections to the original plan prompted students to circulate a petition asking that the plan be reconsidered and nurse practitioner Lydia Bolduc-Marden, a long-time member of the Health Center staff, be retained. More than 1,200 students signed the petition, according to Taffie Gwitimah '06, who headed the petition effort. She said Bolduc-Marden listens and sincerely cares about students. "When they go to the Health Center, it's Lydia they want to talk to," Gwitimah said. "Lydia's office is a safe space."