Orlando high school offers student health center

Community clinic inside Edgewater High School opens for students

ORLANDO, Fla. - Scales, stethoscopes, medicine -- pretty much everything you'd see in a doctor's office can be found in the community clinic inside Edgewater High School, and the whole thing is free.

For Edgewater High School junior Ronny Roman, avoiding the hospital is a relief. When he recently injured his hand, he had to stay in the hospital for more than a day. The wound called for 29 stitches and physical therapy.

But when it came time to remove those stitches, he was one of the first patients at the school's new student health center.

"Less than 15 minutes to remove my stitches," said Roman, "and I went to class the same day."

Roman tried out the clinic during its soft opening over the last few months. It's now officially open, serving the students of Edgewater High and their siblings.

"I'm able to diagnose and treat many minor illnesses," said nurse practitioner Darcy Ravndal. "I do sports physicals, camps, Boy Scouts, community sports."

Unlike a school nurse, Ravndal is qualified to write prescriptions and diagnose illnesses. With an arsenal of medications and medical equipment, students can have Ravndal evaluate them first or even avoid the doctor or hospital completely.

Parents, like Diane Hodgman, said it's faster and easier than scheduling a doctors appointment.

"I was able to get to work," said Hodgman. "I'm a teacher and my daughter was able to get to school on time."

As for Roman, the next time he needs to see a doctor, he'll just have to go down the hall, and his hand is as good as new.

"It's perfectly fine," said Roman.

So far, the clinic has had almost 1,000 visits since its preview period began in October.

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