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Commit to wellness this school year

University can be one of the best experiences of your life, but it can be challenging and stressful at times. As a student, it is critical to find that seemingly elusive balance between working hard to achieve academic success and making time to exercise, energize with good nutrition, revitalize with enough sleep, and socialize for fun and enjoyment.

While living a balanced lifestyle can support personal wellness, it’s not a foolproof plan.

So what happens if you do get sick? What if you simply want to be proactive and take charge of your own health (great move by the way)? Maybe you are due to have a PAP test, need a prescription for a new medication or need a prescription refill for a medication you’re already using for an illness like depression or thyroid disease? What if you have a bad cough, a rash, feel really tired or feel generally crappy but cannot figure out why? Where would you go for help?

Did you know that UNB has a Student Health Centre (SHC) located very conveniently right here on campus? On site are two full-time and three part-time physicians, a nurse practitioner (that’s me!), a team of registered nurses, a registered dietitian and medical administrative staff, all committed to providing quality Primary Health Care services to full-time students of UNB and STU.

We even have a dedicated psychiatrist and orthopedic surgeon who will see our students at the SHC by referral — that means you need to see one of us first for assessment in order to determine if specialist care is required in your situation.

You also need to know that if you see me or one of our physicians and we decide you need to have non-urgent bloodwork collected, you can book an appointment at the SHC and one of our experienced registered nurses can draw your blood sample! Appointments for bloodwork are booked each morning (Monday through Friday) to make life easier for you, our students.

No student wants something as basic as food to interfere with their academic success here at UNB. Our registered dietitian, Ellen MacIntosh, helps students assess their nutrition intake and find simple, practical strategies to fill gaps while meeting their health and nutrition goals. If you want to maintain a healthy weight, increase your energy, feel healthier and boost your immune system, or begin to practice healthy eating for long-term health, consider booking an appointment with Ellen to learn how. They’re free and don’t require a referral.

A few other things about the SHC that may surprise you include the fact that the clinic is open year round — even in the summer. If you decide to opt out of the university student health insurance plan, you can still access medical care at the SHC. It’s important to bring a valid student ID and a valid Canadian or International Health Card with you every time you come to the SHC for an appointment (e.g. Medicare, MSI, OHIP, Cowen, Great West Life, etc.).

In addition to clinic appointments, the SHC offers educational outreach programs. Ellen and I do guest lectures and conduct more informal talks with student groups in residence, on sports teams and with various clubs and organizations on campus. Program topics include personal health and wellness, sexual health, nutrition, mental health and many more. We can even design a presentation to meet your specific needs.

Are you still not sure why you would choose to go to the Student Health Centre? Think of it this way: If you would call your family doctor’s office to book an appointment for a specific health-related concern, you can come to us. Our services are completely confidential and non-judgmental. We want you to feel comfortable to come and see us about any concerns you have that could impact your health and well-being.

To book a same day or next day appointment, just phone the SHC or drop in. Calling or coming in earlier in the day increases your chances of getting an appointment with one of us before our appointments fill up for that day. When we are full, we do book into the next workday or refer students to an appropriate community resource if needed.

At the SHC, we truly understand the importance of wellness to academic success. Our goal is to help you students minimize interruptions to your studies by preventing and treating illness in a timely manner. For more information and medical resources check out our web site at Go.unb.ca/studenthealth, or contact us at shc@unb.ca or (506) 453-4837.

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