Walking through the doors of the MSU Care clinic in the new O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center is like stepping from a dream into reality for Missouri State University alumna Dr. Susan Berg.
“It’s hard to put into words how happy and proud I am of this new clinic opening,” Berg said. “I worked in the old MSU Care clinic, and I will continue in the new MSU Care clinic; it’s a very exciting time.”
Development of MSU Care
Berg, an associate professor in the department of nursing, co-authored the grant that sparked MSU Care with Dr. Kathryn Hope in 2010. The grant facilitated the opportunity for Missouri State University to collaborate with The Kitchen in offering services to low-income patients. Now, five years later, MSU Care will be operating out of a brand-new space in the O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center in partnership with Mercy.
“At the point The Kitchen Medical Clinic had shortages in providers, we were glad to be able to step in and help,” Berg said. “Now, we’re proud of the ability to bring it over to our campus so that all of our students can participate in this care.”
MSU Care provides services to a vulnerable group of patients: the homeless and working poor who do not have or cannot afford commercial insurance.
“I get calls and feedback from people in the community that tell me they’d have no other way to get care if they didn’t have the clinic,” Berg said.
In addition to a new physical space, the MSU Care clinic at Missouri State University will expand its acute care and chronic healthcare services and provide a pharmacy dispensary, lab and X-ray services, diabetic education, counseling services and more onsite.
“This building is a beacon of pride for the University,” Berg said. “Students are proud to walk through the doors of the health sciences center to learn.”
Learning opportunities for students
MSU Care provides valuable opportunities for nursing students. The nursing program at Missouri State has the highest certification pass rate in the state, and the clinical experience students receive at MSU Care helps equip them with skills they need to succeed.
Students in class“Through the clinic, our students get real-world experience with how to work without resources.” Berg said. “For example, if you send a diabetic patient out with insulin, which has to be refrigerated, and that person is homeless, how do you keep the insulin cool?”
Working with vulnerable populations is something that is important to Berg, who did her doctoral project on incorporating cultural competence topics into nursing education.
“Our health disparity focus and cultural competence focus is one of the things that sets us apart in the state as a program,” Berg said. “All of our students take a course that focuses on cultural competence. It has been threaded through our nursing program, all the way from the beginning into our doctoral courses.”
As the director of the family nurse practitioner program, Berg enjoys teaching and advising students who are taking the same academic journey she took as a Missouri State student.
“I’m proud to be a graduate of MSU, and the students can relate to me that way,” Berg said. “I’ve been through the same things at the same university. I tell them, ‘I had children and I finished.’ A lot of our students who are at the graduate level also have families and full-time jobs, and watching them finish and go on and be successful is the most rewarding part.”
Photos by MSU Photo Services