February 07, 2012 12:00AM
This spring, the Bryant Student Health Center made some changes that officials believe will enhance the health center’s already extensive services to students. The health center changed from a model that relied on a part-time doctor to one that uses the services of a contracting physician.
In December, Dr. Kathleen Sandness, a Pittsburg doctor and a 1983 PSU graduate, was chosen as the contracting physician for the Bryant Student Health Center. As a contracting physician, Sandness maintains regular hours at the health center and sees patients there. But even when she is not in the building, Sandness can pull up student records on her computer and if needed, can be on site within minutes.
“My office is nearby,” Sandness said. “I can pop over here in five minutes.”
Although the great majority of student health issues can be taken care of at the student health center, Sandness said, if a student needs to be admitted to the hospital and they don’t have a local doctor, she can take care of that, too.
Sandness said the decision to move to a model that relies on a contracting physician, actually broadens the services for students.
“I think this model is going to work very, very well,” Sandness said.
Two factors that make it work, Sandness said, are the staff and the building.
“This is a top-flight staff,” Sandness said. “The nurse practioners, the registered nurses and other staff members are well educated, experienced and totally committed to the students.”
The students are also fortunate to have a facility so well designed for their care, she said.
“This is a fabulous facility with great technology,” Sandness said. “And it is very well run. The wait times are usually just a few minutes.”
Sandness said contracting with the university was attractive to her because it allowed her to maintain her practice and still serve the university.
“One of the things I love about this building is the energy,” Sandness said. “Because you’re dealing with students, it’s a whole different type of medicine (than a typical medical practice.)”
Sandness has a long history of working with students. She founded the free clinic at Wesley House, where PSU pre-med students work, and has mentored many students in that program. Sandness received the Ralf J. Thomas Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the PSU Outstanding Alumni Award in 2002.
Sandness is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has maintained a private practice in Pittsburg for 20 years.