One of the unique aspects of Student Health Services at Clemson University is the high level of outpatient, ambulatory care provided to the total person — all under one roof.
Students can make an appointment to see a doctor, nurse practitioner or mental health clinician. They can receive an immunization or allergy injection. They can pick up a prescription from a full-service pharmacy.
Students can also receive a wide range of procedures through laboratory and radiology services, all before leaving Redfern Health Center.
“We have a moderate-complexity CLIA lab,” said Dr. Lesslie Pekarek, director of medical services. “We don’t perform any high-complexity tests. We send out reference labs as needed and communicate results very quickly with students.”
Mary Stuart Turner has worked in the Redfern laboratory for the past 20 years. In 2019, she assumed supervisory responsibility for a staff of registered technologists. She oversees maintenance and quality of control of the lab instruments, while ensuring staff complete competencies, proficiencies and continuing education requirements. It all plays a role in Redfern annually meeting health and safety standards established by the Commission on Office Laboratory Accreditation (COLA).
The lab performs tests such as complete blood count, urinalysis, specimen collection for fungal testing and an array of rapid tests for strep throat, mono, flu and COVID-19. The lab integrates test results directly into a student’s electronic health record to allow physicians quick access.
“I work with great people,” Turner said. “These past couple of years, we’ve seen how much people care. We have critical thinkers who put the best interests of the students forward.”
Never was that more evident than in 2020, when Turner and her team were involved in collecting COVID PCR tests under a tent in a makeshift outdoor lab behind Redfern. She worked up to 10 hours a day — often in the extreme heat of summer — collecting specimen from students in the days before saliva testing was readily available on campus.
Turner has never been prouder of her team than seeing how it adjusted during the pandemic.
“We’ve never professionally worked that hard in our entire lives,” she said. “I am so proud of what we accomplished. And that goes for the entire campus!”
Lynn Moore was also one of the staffers who was “boots on the ground” during the period of modified operations. She joined Redfern’s staff two years after Turner and has been a mainstay in radiology, where she supervises a small team responsible for ensuring x-ray coverage from the time the doors open each weekday morning.
The radiology team uses a digital PACS (picture archiving and communication system) diagnostic tool to conduct soft tissue x-rays for foreign bodies, sinus and chest x-rays for infections and pneumonias, musculoskeletal x-rays for fractures and injuries, and abdominal x-rays to check air fluid levels, infection, constipation and kidney stones.
In 2019, the most recent full calendar year not impacted by COVID, Moore personally saw more than 2,000 students. When more advanced images such as CT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds are required and insurance authorization is satisfied, Moore and her team do the scheduling.
And like the lab, students can bring orders from home physicians to have radiology services performed at Redfern.
“I love to make their day better and to ease their fears,” she said. “Students are usually getting health care on their own for the first time, so we try to make it a little more comforting and make sure they realize what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”
And that explains why Redfern’s care for the total person is unique and second to none.