By Kirsten Nguyen, The Whetstone Editor

Junior Ciara Ware was unaware that the Wellness Center was closed when she went to get treatment.

“There was only a note on the door saying Wesley college wellness center is closed and to call a number for counseling services,” she said.

Jill Maser, the director of the Wellness Center, resigned Aug. 15. The Wellness Center was closed until Sept. 5.

Trying to get medical services while the Wellness Center was closed was hard for Ware.

“In order for me to get treatment, I had to drive 40 minutes north and I had to miss class the first week of school to go,” she said.

Someone was scheduled to start at the Wellness Center the same day classes began.

“The college did have someone scheduled and unexpectedly the person was unable to begin,” Dean of Students Wanda Anderson said.

Students were advised to contact campus security, Kent General Hospital, or MedExpress if they needed medical attention.

“Students who have insurance would go to MedExpress and those who don’t would have to go to the ER,” said Director of Counseling Services Ann Rogge.

This caused further problems for Ware.

“I had to drive to the Middletown medical aid unit to be treated by a doctor because MedExpress doesn’t except my insurance,” she said.

Rogge said it has not been an easy process finding Maser’s replacement.

“We want to get someone in here who is a good fit for the student population,” she said. “Someone welcoming and warm like Jill was.”

The school also needs someone who can prescribe medications, labs and diagnostic testing. The temporary registered nurses who are now filling in cannot prescribe anything.

“Prior to me receiving my Family Nurse Practitioner licensing students would have to see a physician to obtain any written prescriptions,” Jill Maser said.

“It has been very challenging to find a replacement nurse for the Wellness Center because the person we had was excellent at her job and worked for the college for 10 years,” Anderson said.

Debra Forbes, a temporary replacement  began Sept. 5 when the Wellness Center reopened.

“Before there was a grad assistant who was an RN that would work part-time at the desk while attending the master’s program for nursing, and there was also Jill,” Rogge said.

Rogge said the College also wants to hire a person to be at the front desk during the school year.

“Our goal is to hire a permanent RN as soon as possible,” Anderson said.

Rogge also said this was the first time the Wellness Center has not been able to open when classes have begun.

“There has been a lot of concern about the Castle Branch immunizations for incoming freshman,” she said.

Castle Branch is an online system that manages the health records of students to clear them to attend class once all their immunizations are completed.

“The incoming freshman had difficulty signing up for Castle Branch and getting all the paperwork completed and uploaded.” Rogge said.

The date when all freshman was required to have their immunization records uploaded was moved because there was no medical staff available.

“Now I believe it’s been extended until the director’s position is filled to manage it,” Rogee said.

Rogge said now that the Wellness Center has reopened, she hopes to get back to functioning normally and continue being a resource for students.

“We’ve been concerned about the students here and hope to get back up and running at the same level we were at before Jill Maser left,” she said.