8/28/02 - Health Clinic Inside a High School

Remember your school nurse's office? It was probably a sweet old lady, a few band aids, and a thermometer. But things are much different these days at one Heartland school, in fact they've got their own clinic right on campus!
The idea is to treat students, there, on the high school campus, so they won't miss any class time. To do that, Anna-Jonesboro High School has a full staffed, health center, right in its high school.
Filling out medical forms, waiting to see a nurse? It's not quite a doctor's office, but close. The AJ Health Center is only a walk down the hallway for nearly 500 students, like Torie Smith, who goes to school there. "I've had knee problems, headaches, you can go there for anything.," Smith says. It saved senior Brandon Miller a trip to get his yearly sports physical. "For my physical, usually I had to go to Cape. Now I can go to Mrs. Braddock for my physical." And the center not only keeps the students in town, but also in school. Nurse practitioner Terri Braddock says, "As a nurse practitioner, I can give them medications and antibiotics that will make them better and keep them in school." Those are things that most school nurses can't do.
The idea behind the AJ Health Center is to not only treat students, but to teach students, to say no to the bad habits they can pick up in their teens. "Most bad habits are initiated in this age group, smoking, not wearing a seat belt, and we try to prevent things like that," Braddock says. The center also tries to reach teens who may not go to the doctor. But there is one big difference between this office and a school nurses office, there a student can end up with a bill! "We do provide services just like school nurses and don't charge for band-aids or headache medications, but we will bill for certain treatments," Braddock says.
Again, some things, like band-aids and other small items are free, but students are charged for things like physicals and immunizations. The center does accept certain insurance policies, and is designed for students and school staff living in Union county, not members of the community.