Conveniently within walking distance, the students of the University of Rhode Island have two options when it comes to premium medical care facilities. The more commonly known Health Services located in the Potter building, and the newer service being Family Doctor Plus: Urgent Care located in the Emporium at the top of campus.
Both clinics specialize in treating and providing medical assistance in a convenient and timely manner. The convenience of their locations and quick service provide the mostly student clientele the advantage of being able to be seen and treated whenever it fits into their schedules whether it’s before, after or in-between classes.
Because Health Services treats mainly just students, and even offers insurance coverage through the University, it is a school sanctioned clinic, meaning when the students are off, so are the staff of Health Services. This is where Family Doctor Plus differs, the emporium based urgent and primary care facility is open to the public year round including the summer and winter recesses that the University follows.
This allows residents of Kingston and nearby areas to receive quality care whenever, and means that if someone is taking a summer course or athletes are meeting before the school opens in the fall and they become ill or injured, they can be treated without having to travel far.
Family Doctor Plus is a smaller, more comfortable and calming atmosphere with plush chairs and soft lighting that serve to relax the patients, providing a sterile environment without the cold linoleum and strong smell of sanitizers common with most clinics. According to Nichole Albert, a staff member of Family Doctor Plus, on average they see a relatively “large number of students each day along with many members of the facility, staff from the Memorial Union and people that live nearby that do not attend the University.”
The standard procedure for a visit at Family Doctor Plus is nearly identical to that of Health Services and other urgent care facilities. The patient first enters and signs in, speaking to the receptionist about their ailments, discussing what they’re coming in for and giving their insurance information.
After their insurance is verified, the patient is brought back where a nurse takes their vitals and listens to their symptoms, asking routine questions in order to begin to pinpoint what the problem might be.
Afterward, the patient meets with the doctor. This is where, after the doctor has been informed by the nurse and their own inquiries have been asked and answered, they determine the appropriate method for treatment and perform any lab work or cultures that are needed. With an accurate diagnosis, the patient is given a prescription and if it is their first time visiting, a complimentary coupon for two free slices of pizza are handed out. Nichole Albert reiterated the clinic’s motto “walk in, feel better, walk out” saying that their location allows them to “treat patients quickly so that they can begin to recovery even with their busy schedules.”
Health Services in the Potter building is often crowded with a large amount of students they see each day, which causes the wait time to fluctuate, being long on busy days and rather quick on days where they see less patients. Regardless of their full waiting room, they manage to run through their check in procedure rather quickly.
Like Family Doctor Plus, the student checks in at the front desk giving insurance information and symptoms, and when their insurance goes through, they are asked to head to a separate room where the nurse checks vitals and listens to their problems before sending them to the doctor to be diagnosed and treated.
Both clinics offer similar care and have the same capabilities. The only difference is that Health Services has equipment to provide x-rays and gynecological exams. Family Doctor Plus can still perform STD testing, pregnancy tests and diagnose breaks and fractures so that they can recommend clients to their Wakefield location where the patient can be treated without waiting four hours in an emergency room. They hope to expand in the near future so that they are able to provide full x-ray, radiology and gynecological care.
Both clinics maintain organized and clean environments with helpful staff and plenty of hand sanitizer dispensers. While they have their differences in size and appearance, both provide quality care and are here to assist the public and student body in quick recovery and accurate diagnoses.