Statistics show that nearly 60% of teens who are worried about a health issue do not consult a health care provider, due to barriers like transportation challenges or needing to miss class to attend an appointment. As well, school health nurses are largely a thing of the past – while health authorities coordinate student access to school- and community-based public health services like immunizations and health promotion initiatives, the reality is that most BC students don’t have an easy way to access care during school hours.
To provide students with safe, convenient, barrier-free care for everything from a sore throat to a sexual health concern, four divisions of family practice around BC have created school clinics and wellness centres in local high schools in Nanaimo, Vanderhoof, Salmon Arm, and Southern Vancouver Island.
These clinics, created in partnership with local stakeholders including health authorities and school boards, give students access to general medical appointments, birth control, STI testing, mental health support, and lifestyle counselling. Care is provided by doctors, nurses, and allied health professionals in a safe, confidential, familiar setting.
To learn more about how doctors are working to improve care for student populations through school clinics, read the article in the July/August issue of the BC Medical Journal entitled “Division-led school clinics improve access to care for students around the province.”