Did You Know?: Wellness screenings

September 2, 2011

Chris Rearick (right), registered nurse in Purdue's Nursing Center for Family Health, and Erica Sparks, a senior in nursing, perform the blood pressure portion of a wellness screening on a Purdue staff member. (Purdue photo / Mark Simons)

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In an effort to keep Purdue's campus healthy while providing convenient and cost-effective care, Human Resources WorkLife Programs and the School of Nursing offer wellness screenings to faculty and staff throughout the year.

To promote prevention and awareness, these voluntary screenings are provided as an employee benefit and are offered free of charge once per calendar year to benefit-eligible faculty, staff, official retirees and spouses and same-sex domestic partners. Graduate staff are eligible also for free screenings, but the cost is $20 for spouses.

Screening process

The screening process begins by registering online or by phone. Employees may choose from a variety of available times and dates to best fit their schedules, but participants are encouraged to get screenings around the same time each year. Participants are required to bring their Purdue ID to screening appointments, which typically last 25 minutes.

Senior level nursing students conduct the assessments under the direction and supervision of a faculty member. Chris Rearick, registered nurse in Purdue's Nursing Center for Family Health, currently oversees all screenings, which are part of a required rotation for students in the School of Nursing.

During wellness screening appointments, the following procedures are conducted:

* Height and weight check.
* Blood pressure.
* Finger stick blood test to check total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and glucose.

Screenings are intended to identify results but are not diagnostic. The RN and nursing students review individual results with patients and explain what each number and value indicates. If a result warrants a follow-up examination, a recommendation form will be provided.

WorkLife Programs and the School of Nursing are HIPAA-covered entities. Regulations mandated by HIPAA are enforced and followed in handling data, privacy of health information and patient confidentiality related to the wellness screenings.

Measures are taken to provide privacy for each patient. If more privacy is desired, exam rooms are available in the Nursing Center at the Johnson Hall location.

Screening locations

Wellness screenings are offered at various campus locations each semester in an effort to ensure convenience and time efficiency and to reach as much of the West Lafayette campus population as possible.

In the past, screenings have been offered at:

* Stewart Center.
* Beering Hall.
* Lilly Hall.
* Krannert Building.
* Johnson Hall of Nursing.
* Material and Electrical Engineering Building.

For staff members who work evening and night shifts, annual night screenings are coordinated with supervisors in each area. Annual screenings are conducted at University Place, Westminster Village or Morton Center to reach official retirees off campus.

"The purpose is to go where the employee population is," says Julie Huetteman, health and wellness administrator for WorkLife Programs. "We have a system in place to make it very efficient and appropriate for our employees and their spouses and same-sex domestic partners to receive wellness screenings each year."

WorkLife Programs and the School of Nursing are constantly trying new locations to provide employees with screenings close their work sites.

Advantages of screenings

Wellness screenings offered through WorkLife Programs and the School of Nursing provide:

* Convenient locations and registration options.
* A less expensive option than doctor's visits.
* Encouragement of annual routine check up as well as prevention and awareness.
* Support for Purdue's School of Nursing.

"The idea of offering wellness screenings is to get people into the habit of having regular assessments," Huetteman says. "It is good practice to have a record of the values the wellness screenings provide in order to keep track of any health changes that can occur."

This semester screenings will begin Tuesday (Sept. 6). Screenings are offered from September through December and from January through April.

To register online, visit www.purdue.edu/worklife and log in. To register by phone, call 49-45461.

For regional campus screening events, contact campus programs:

* Calumet: (219) 989-2709, lowry@calumet.purdue.edu
* Fort Wayne: (260) 481-6647, tillapau@ipfw.edu
* North Central: (219) 785-5354, kgardin@pnc.edu