Myths about McCosh and Facts about UHS
Every university, the campus health center is bound to attract attention, speculation, and yes, even rumor. So for your entertainment, stimulation, and education, we have compiled a list of the most popular McCosh myths at Princeton. Get ready for the insider’s scoop…
MYTH: You will always be asked if you're pregnant.
FACT: When was your last menstrual period? Do you think you may be pregnant? These questions may sound intrusive, but there are medical reasons practitioners at Health Services need to know if you’re pregnant. Here’s the rundown:
Some symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, fatigue) are symptoms of various conditions, including pregnancy. We must always rule this out if we are to diagnose you properly. The bottom line is that this is an absolutely necessary question to help UHS provide comprehensive, safe medical care.
Antibiotic use: Some antibiotics will cause damage to the fetus. If you are pregnant and are planning to keep the pregnancy, the practitioner needs to look for an alternative treatment. Antibiotics for routine urinary tract infections (UTI) or acne can cause serious fetal abnormalities.
X-Rays: We need to take special precautions if you are pregnant. This is absolutely necessary.
Continuity of Care: If you are pregnant, the clinicians at Women's and Men's Health are available to answer questions, make referrals, and talk with you about your health care and pregnancy options.
MYTH: They always think you have mono.
FACT: Mononucleosis (“mono“), an infectious disease caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, is characterized by one or more of the following symptoms: fatigue, sore throat, swollen glands, chills, headache, and loss of appetite. Mono primarily affects adolescents and young adults, making it a common illness on college campuses. In fact, 12% of college students each year will develop mono if they have never had it before. When you visit UHS with these symptoms, it is important for providers to rule out the possibility that you may have mono.If you do have mono, UHS will need to make you aware of special precautions.
MYTH: Students have a bad experience at UHS.
FACT: Let’s let your fellow students debunk this myth: Data collected from student-administered evaluations of UHS highlight that 98.9% of respondents were satisfied with their visit to UHS. Moreover, 98.5% of respondents would recommend this service/treatment to a fellow student or co-worker.
MYTH: Your parents will be notified of your test results. / The Deans will be notified if you go in for testing or treatment. / Confidentiality is a joke.
FACT: We take the issue of confidentiality very seriously! All medical and counseling records are completely confidential. UHS will not release your records or test results to anyone (e.g., deans, family, friends, Public Safety) unless instructed by you in writing, by subpoena in court, or in a critical emergency (when there is a serious imminent danger to yourself or someone else). There are also certain times when medical providers are required by law to report their cases to others (e.g., in cases of child abuse, certain infectious diseases, gunshot wounds, etc.).
MYTH: They will never give you antibiotics.
FACT: Antibiotics are used to treat diseases caused by bacterial infections. They are not effective in treating viral infections, like the common cold, cough, bronchitis, flu, and mono — the overwhelming majority of illnesses seen at UHS. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily for non-bacterial infections can create drug resistance to bacteria, which becomes a dangerous problem if these medications are needed in the future.
Additionally, UHS has no financial incentive to withhold prescribing antibiotics. Since UHS does not have a pharmacy, we can not dispense prescription medication. In order to receive antibiotic therapy, you need to fill your prescription at an outside pharmacy, taking UHS out of the cost loop.
MYTH: You will never see a doctor/MD.
FACT: When you come in to UHS outpatient services for an appointment or Urgent Care, a Physician (MD), Nurse Practitioner (NP), Physician Assistant (PA), or Registered Nurse (RN) may see you. If you wish to schedule an appointment, you can choose the individual or type of professional you want to see. If you do not have an appointment and want to be seen for Urgent Care (based on a first-come, first-served basis unless a need for emergency care is determined), you will first be evaluated by the Triage Nurse, who then assigns patients to either an MD, NP, PA, or RN based on written protocols and your problem’s level of severity. At this time, you always have the right to request to be seen by the professional of your choice. Due to scheduling and clinician availability, satisfying your request may not always be possible immediately.
All of the medical professionals at UHS are skilled and qualified and are working towards the same goal — to keep you healthy and help you feel better when you’re sick.
MYTH: You can only go to Counseling and Psychological Services if you have “serious“ problems.
FACT: Actually, it’s a strength to take advantage of the resources on campus that are available to you. Students come to Counseling and Psychological Services to discuss a wide range of problems. Some do have more serious psychological difficulties. Students are encouraged to come in to discuss any type of concern — roommate difficulties, loneliness, lack of self-confidence, procrastination, sexual orientation and gender identity concerns, grief, and cultural/ethnic issues.
Each year, approximately 1000 students use Counseling and Psychological Services for both individual and group counseling. About 40% of undergraduates and even larger percentage of graduate students use the service sometime during their years at Princeton.
MYTH: Unless I'm really sick, there's nothing for me at McCosh.
FACT: UHS does not only provide evaluation and treatment for people who are ill. UHS offers a variety of educational services, including prevention programs, workshops, peer education, and multi-media resources. If you would like health-related information, we offer a wide variety of brochures, fact sheets, videos, books, and other resources. We are also available to perform web searches and online screenings. If you are looking for group education, you can request a professional health educator, counselor, or medical professional to provide your student group with expert advice and information. We also serve as technical and creative consultants, helping you develop and implement programs that aid students in making healthy lifestyle choices.
UHS offers a variety of volunteer and employment opportunities for students. If you are interested in becoming a peer educator, health promotion volunteer, or student health aide, or if you are eligible for work-study, we want to hear from you!
MYTH: You will be misdiagnosed.
FACT: Often, an illness doesn’t fully show itself until a few days after you start feeling sick. The clinician will request that you return to UHS to review test results, if appropriate, or if symptoms persist or become progressively worse in order to make an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes an illness can develop into something different (e.g., a upper respiratory infection may be viral in etiology but could turn into a bacterial sinusitis or pneumonia).
Remember: follow-up care is important to make sure that you are receiving the appropriate course of treatment, and is the shared responsibility of the provider and the patient.
MYTH: If you go in for help, they'll commit you and you won't be able to leave.
FACT: When you stay overnight or for extended care in the Infirmary, you are under the professional care of a physician and a team of nurses and possibly a counselor. They will often allow you to leave and return to the Infirmary as long as you are well enough. However, the clinicians may recommend that you do not leave if you need further care, should be under the close watch of a professional, or if leaving poses a risk to your safety or that of the community. For example, someone who has a communicable disease (e.g., chicken pox, pertussis, measles, mumps, etc.) will be required to stay in the isolation room at the Infirmary for campus health considerations.
Have a McCosh myth of your own? Send praise, gripes, and ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org