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Health centre seeks major sponsor

TRU nursing program co-ordinator Rhonda McCreight (left) gets an ear checked by  nurse practitioner Sandi Lachapelle. - Gaeil Farrar photo
TRU nursing program co-ordinator Rhonda McCreight (left) gets an ear checked by nurse practitioner Sandi Lachapelle.
— image credit: Gaeil Farrar photo

The new Thompson Rivers University Health Centre is looking for one special corporate sponsor to help continue its success well into the future.

“This corporate partner would get a tax write off and their name on the centre along with the tons of advertising that goes with the name,” says Rhonda McCreight, TRU’s nursing program co-ordinator in Williams Lake.

She says the community has been very generous with its donations to get the centre up and running and now they are looking for a major corporate donor who would be willing to contribute $10,000. a year for the next 10 years in exchange for having their name on the centre.

The health centre opened in mid-October in partnership with TRU and Interior Health, and with the help of community donations. The centre is unique in B.C. as the only university-based health centre that is open to the public.

The health centre is operated by family nurse practitioner Sandi Lachapelle, who provides medical care to the public by appointment, conducts outreach workshops and talks on various health issues for the public, and helps to provide practical clinical experience for students in TRU’s registered and practical nursing programs.

McCreight says Lachapelle’s wages and benefits are funded by Interior Health, and overhead costs are funded by TRU and through public donations.

These overhead costs include the space provided by TRU for the centre, heat, light, medical equipment and supplies, plus the cost of the medical receptionist.

One of the bigger needs that a major corporate sponsor could help to supply is the purchase of an electronic medical records system that will cost $4,300. for the initial set up and then $380 per month in operating costs.

As it is now, McCreight says the centre communicates with family doctors by fax which is not ideal.

Some of the outstanding equipment needs also include a pulse oximeter, glucose monitor, vital signs monitor, digital baby scale, plus the ongoing need for medical supplies such as bandages.

Since they opened in September Lachapelle says clinical visits by the public, and TRU students and staff have risen to between 12 and 15 people per day, which is pretty much the maximum number of people she can accommodate alone, given her other responsibilities.

Eventually, she says it would be good to have two nurse practitioners, each with their own specialty. That way when one practitioner is busy hosting a health workshop or talk, the other would be available to receive patient visits.

McCreight notes that TRU has set up an on-line donation system for the centre along with a new Facebook page to provide information on health issues and update the public on times the centre has available for clinical visits.

Appointments are required by calling the centre at 250-392-8033. The centre is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed for lunch).

Over the coming months she notes there will also be a space on the centre’s wall dedicated to honouring all those who have donated and will donate to the centre in future.

“It has been such a successful innovative proposal built on community partnerships and that’s the way it should continue,” McCreight says.

Some of the donations which have helped to establish the centre include $3,700. from the Williams Lake and District Credit Union for medical supplies such as thermometers, blood pressure equipment, and a special refrigerator with battery backup for vaccines in case of power outages.

The Child Development Centre donated the examination table; the Boys and Girls Club shares its sexual health teaching kit; and Interior Health donated items such as chairs and a manual baby weighing table.

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