Policies, Procedures, and Statements

Policies, Procedures, and Statements

As an integrated health, counseling, and wellness center, we strive to be transparent in what students can expect regarding how they will be treated in terms of respect and confidentiality.

Your care at Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) will be confidential. We will neither acknowledge to others that you are a client here nor discuss your treatment here without your permission. There are some limits to confidentiality, but they occur only in extreme situations. Your nurse or counselor will discuss the limits to confidentiality with you during your first nursing or counseling appointment, respectively. You, of course, are free to discuss your care at SHAW with others.

Please note that if you are 17 years of age or younger, your parent(s) or guardian must give permission for you to receive health and mental health services and they have the legal right to be informed about your treatment. If you are a legal minor and are concerned about your privacy, you may request that your counselor or nurse speak with your parent(s) or guardian to negotiate a confidential relationship with you.

Many students find it helpful to authorize us to discuss their care at SHAW with a third party, such as their physician, faculty, or a staff member at Academic Advising. You can discuss whether such sharing would be helpful to you with your counselor or nurse. If you decide that you would like us to communicate about you with someone else, we will ask you to sign a release (authorization) form. You will determine the nature and extent of the information to be shared.

Occasionally a third party consults with our staff out of concern for a student. In those instances, unless you have already authorized us to do so, we do not reveal whether or not you are a client here nor, if you are one of our clients, information about your treatment. However, we do try to assist such third parties by providing general guidance.

Students who participate in counseling at SHAW must agree to the SHAW Counseling General Consent (PDF).

There are several situations in which confidentiality must sometimes be broken.

  • Suicidality/homicidality
    When there is a reasonable suspicion that you are at imminent risk of committing suicide or homicide, or if you describe yourself to your nurse or counselor as being at such risk, we will take action to protect your safety and the safety of others. Sometimes this will require breaking confidentiality.
  • Child abuse/abuse of dependent adults
    If you are a legal minor and report that you are being abused by an adult caretaker, we are required by law to report this to the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS). Similarly, if you report that you are abusing a child or a dependent adult, we are mandated to notify DHS.
  • Court-subpoenaed records
    In rare instances, the courts subpoena records. In such a case, we would work with you and with the court to try to limit the release of information to only that which was absolutely necessary.
  • Emergency care
    If you require emergency medical or mental health care, we will provide relevant information about you to those involved in accessing and providing your care.

Diverse community of people is a core value of Grinnell College.  We recognize and acknowledge that implicit bias, oppression, discrimination, prejudice, and inequitable systems of privilege and power impact our campus community. Studies show that these factors affect individual physical, mental, and emotional health, sense of belonging on campus, and academic achievement.  As SHAW’s mission is to promote the academic, personal, and social growth of Grinnell students by providing, and facilitating access to, high quality medical and mental health care services, we are committed to the promotion and affirmation of diversity in its broadest sense.

Diversity is that which makes us different from each other, including who we are, where we’re from, what we believe, who we love, and our current circumstances, abilities, and lived experiences.

All staff members and trainees are expected to respect the dignity and worth of the individual, and to strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights. We aim to maintain an atmosphere of respect and trust in which we feel free to explore and discuss our attitudes, beliefs, values, and behaviors in relation to others who are similar to and different from.

The professional ethics and standards of the various mental health disciplines represented at SHAW place a high value on the dignity and worth of individuals regardless of their:

  • affectional orientation 
  • age
  • ancestry
  • body size
  • ethnicity
  • gender expression
  • gender identity
  • immigration status
  • marital status 
  • national origin
  • parental status
  • physical/mental ability
  • political beliefs
  • race
  • religious beliefs
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • socioeconomic status
  • spiritual identies
  • status as a veteran 

As a healthcare organization serving the campus community, we work to:

  • Maintain an environment that respects and welcomes people from diverse backgrounds;
  • Affirm and honor diversity in all its forms; 
  • Challenge systems of oppression to create a more inclusive campus community;
  • Recognize and eliminate the prejudice and discrimination that have traditionally affected healthcare delivery;
  • Reduce health disparities; and
  • Continually refine our cultural awareness and competence through professional development, engage in ongoing self-examination of our biases, and be open to feedback.
  1. You have the right to receive consultation and treatment in a timely fashion which is commensurate with your symptoms.
    Your corresponding responsibility is to be proactive about contacting Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) when you start to feel badly, rather than waiting until your need is urgent. You are also responsible for either attending or cancelling your scheduled appointments.
  2. You have the right to be fully informed regarding your health and mental health care.
    Your corresponding responsibility is to be honest and accurate in communicating with SHAW staff; to ask questions; and to be an active collaborator in exploring and implementing treatment recommendations. You are also responsible for either following through on treatment recommendations or for letting your nurse/counselor know why you are unable or unwilling to do so.
  3. You have the right to refuse any recommended treatment and to request a second opinion.
    Your corresponding responsibility is to communicate with your nurse/counselor regarding your reactions to treatment and to treatment recommendations.
  4. You have the right to confidentiality.
    Your corresponding responsibility is to understand the limits to confidentiality and to ask questions if you do not. It is also your responsibility to recognize the confidentiality rights of any other students you see at SHAW.

Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) employs students as drivers and as assistants. Each of SHAW’s student employees reads and signs the following agreement:

Student Employee Confidentiality Agreement

I understand that my employment at Student Health and Wellness (SHAW) may include the following duties:

  • driving students to medical and mental health appointments
  • driving students to pharmacies
  • other tasks as assigned

I understand that I will not have access to student appointments or records, and I will not seek any such access. I agree to maintain complete confidentiality of any and all information regarding students whom I see at SHAW. I will neither discuss such information nor acknowledge that any student has or has not been served by SHAW.

Questions about these can be directed to the Director of Health Services.

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