July 18, 2016 | noon
By Monique Kleinhuizen ’08 G’16, new media strategist
It’s up to students to develop healthy habits while they’re at college, and sometimes that looks more like late-night pizza and Mountain Dew than a good night’s sleep, lots of water, exercise, and regular check-ups. And students aren’t immune from illness while they’re focusing on school. Luckily Bethel has a few on-campus healthcare professionals who can help make staying healthy a little easier and help parents sleep a little better at night. We talked to Liz Miller, director of health services, about how parents can encourage healthy habits. Here’s what she had to say:
How did you end up at Bethel?
My college health career started at Northwestern College (now University of Northwestern-St. Paul) in 2000. I loved everything about it...the "kids," the vibrant academic atmosphere, the community…and summers off! In late 2001, I was asked to apply for an open registered nurse (RN) position here at Bethel, which was great because my husband Jimmy had just taken a position with Bethel’s football team. The fact that both Jimmy and I are Bethel alums was also a significant factor! It’s fun to be back on campus serving students.
What do you like best about your position?
I love this Mark Twain quote: “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” By far the thing I love most about my position is having daily access to 18- to 22-year-old (and a few older!) students who are in a season of "finding out why" they were born. Being a part of this community means it's "all hands on deck" to support and encourage our students to be the best that they can be and to thrive as human beings, as God's beloved.
What’s your approach to living a healthy lifestyle?
In recent years, my approach to wellness has expanded from that of primarily a physical or bodily focus to more "whole life" well-being, where an individual experiences balance and health in all aspects of who they are: in their physical bodies, their minds, their souls, in their relationships, and in their communities. With the opening of the new Wellness Center, we now have a beautiful campus facility that can accommodate our entire community in terms of maintaining physical fitness. We are now hoping to build and expand on this exciting reality to focus on tending to the spiritual, mental, and relational health of our community members as well.
When should students visit Health Services?
Students should come to Health Services to address any physical or emotional issues they are experiencing that might be hindering their experience and performance at Bethel. We are open Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m., and we have a full-time nurse practitioner who sees students by appointment. We have a doctor on campus one morning each week for more complex situations. We also have a nutritionist who is in every Monday to consult with students for a variety of dietary issues. Health Services is co-located with Counseling Services, and our departments do a lot of collaborating on care for students with emotional and mental health needs.
Two years ago, Health Services began offering the option of billing students’ insurance companies for services. This has allowed us to maintain a broad range of medical services without tapping into general funds and ultimately affecting tuition. Unlike most community clinics, however, Bethel realizes the unique stresses and challenges that come with the “college student” status, and how they can affect student health and academic success. We also are intentional about following up and referring students to other supportive departments at Bethel to ensure the student's physical or mental health issues are improving. This is our way of ensuring success and human flourishing for the students at Bethel.
How can parents encourage their students to be healthy and well while at Bethel?
Being the parent of a current Bethel sophomore, I know that my input and advice is not always enthusiastically received by my son! Also, this is a season in life where students need to learn to take personal responsibility for their health and healthcare. Part of becoming a responsible and independent adult is having the ability to learn about available resources and then having the courage and willingness to access those resources when needed. So, I’d say less is more. If necessary, provide gentle reminders of the many excellent resources available at Bethel that can help students to thrive and succeed. We’re here to help!
Find out more about the services offered through Bethel’s on-campus Health Services.