Tonight marks the grand opening for the refurbished Gwinn Teen Clinic. It has been up and running for close to three years now, but recent renovations have increased the facility’s size and scope.
“It’s really a combination of family practice and urgent care,” noted Gwinn Teen Clinic PA-C Jill Magel.
Gwinn High School has been able to treat students’ physical ailments, regardless of their financial situation, for more than two years now.
“Yes, absolutely. We turn nobody away based on their inability to pay. We are able to do Strep screenings. influenza screenings, urinalysis tests. We check glucose. There’s quite a few diabetics in this school, so were able to check their glucose, monitor their insulin,” Magel added.
Basically, every procedure that a licensed physician is able to provide, but in much a different way.
“They have so many patients so it’s just in and out, in and out. You know, kind of = ‘What do you need? What do you need?’ ‘She said this. Is that really true?’ ‘Okay. Whatever. We’ll give you this. See you later. You can pick up your prescription at Walgreens,” remarked Molly, a student at Gwinn High School. “Whereas here, they take the time to get to know and to diagnose. They talk to you. You don’t feel so rushed. You don’t feel like you’re just being shoved out the door. They take the time to get fully understand what your needs are and what they need to do for you.”
“So many of these children have anxiety, depression, problems at home, worries at home that no child should have to worry about,” said Magel.
Corrine Brownell and the Marquette County Health Department took note of the growing trend and wrote in to the federal government for a $500,000 grant to expand their services.
The increase in square footage made room for a monumental addition to their staff that would address students’ emotional and mental health needs.
“It’s made a huge difference,” Magel remarked. “Last year, I was here without a mental health therapist. I had one briefly towards the end of the year, but it was extremely difficult.”
Enter Bill Tucker – a difference maker who has been welcomed by students across the board for his simple pragmatic approach.
“Generally, I treat them like I would any other adult,” said Tucker. “They can sense that respect that I give them, and they give it back to me as well. There’s really no trick to it. It’s just a matter of treating them, I guess, unlike some adults may. Some adults treat them like kids. I don’t. I treat them like they’re responsible for themselves. Therefore, they sense that respect.”
And that respect is contagious
You can see the difference in the way students interact with one another and the adults they look up to; whether by talking or even playing games
“Molly moved away at the beginning of the year, so I started coming in here a lot more because I didn’t really last year,” remembered Tori, a student at GHS. “Then, I really got to know Bill, and I really got more comfortable around him and Jill, too; and Taylor, and Lori. It just feels like a second family.”
“I just feel comfortable going to school, too, knowing that if I ever need anything, they’re right down the hallway,” Molly added. “Which is really nice, too. I don’t have to worry about being called out of school, driving to Marquette, waiting there, then coming back to town. It’s just really convenient to have it here, too. And it’s nice because, as I said, I’d rather not go to my regular doctor. I’d rather come here.”
And she can, even during the summer, Monday through Friday. All any student age 10 to 21 in the GHS school district has to do is walk right up to the clinic’s very own front door.