Principal practices better self-care
“I believe every person, every family, every child should have access to this kind of quality care. I’m grateful that I do and that I can get that care for my kids without having to sacrifice in another way.”
Myra Taylor had this and lots of other positive things to say about MNPS’s Employee & Family Health Care Centers. The Madison Middle School Transitions Academy Principal calls the care she receives there top-notch, and she would know: She and her two sons, ages 12 and 14, have long used clinic services.
“My kids are healthy now,” Myra says. “But when you’re in elementary school and have sniffles and fevers and pink eye … there were times before the clinics I worried whether I had $35 for the copay. I’d think, ‘Can I afford to take my kid to the doctor?’ No parent should ever have to ask that question.”
Myra believes employees are catching on to the value of the clinics, because they continue to gain in popularity; in fact, roughly 40% of MNPS’s 10,000 staff members now use the clinics as their primary care provider.
They’re staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners (NPs), with a doctor available and on call at all times. But according to Myra, access to NPs is a big plus.
“Some people are a little ambivalent about seeing NPs instead of doctors, but I have a much better rapport with my NP than I’ve had with other doctors in the past,” Myra says. “And I’m getting the exact same care.”
Myra doesn’t take access to these services for granted. She talks to educators in other areas who are surprised MNPS benefits include such high quality health care.
“In my opinion, providing that level of care for employees is very cutting edge,” she says. “It’s innovative and smart, and it’s a benefit that will entice people to come to Metro. They’ll say, ‘They have that medical clinic I can use with no copay, while medical expenses are going up everywhere else.’”
The Bransford clinic, which re-opened in the Employee Wellness Center (EWC) in June, gives employees access to other perks including fitness classes, state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a healthy food café, an onsite pharmacy, and onsite physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and behavioral health services.
Myra says teachers often don’t make their own health and wellness a priority; in fact, the very nature of their jobs can mean they put themselves last.
“Our hours are long and don’t leave much time for self care,” she says. “We have very short lunch breaks, and we eat whatever we can get our hands on. We’re also not getting much, if any, exercise. The EWC can help teachers with weight management. We don’t have to pay for the workout classes there — we can just sign up and go for free.
“MNPS is trying to make sure everyone has access to quality health care at an affordable price,” she continues. “Not just for us, but also for our dependents, our spouses, our families who are on our health insurance.”
Madison Middle School Transitions Academy Principal