MSU Nursing And Medical Students Staff Patient Triage Line

March 25, 2020

MSU HealthTeam Patients Urged To Call If Experiencing Cold Or Flu Symptoms



Michigan State University HealthTeam has a COVID-19 Triage Line for patients with cold or flu symptoms to call before arriving at the office. The academic multidisciplinary medical group also is providing medical and nursing students triage experience during a pandemic.

“To assist patients as a resource for any of their COVID-19 questions or concerns, we stood up our Triage Line. The clinic lines were overwhelmed with patient calls and in need of added support for our patients, respectively,” Kris Allen, RN, MSN, MHA, Chief Nursing Officer for MSU HealthTeam and Health Care.

As part of Michigan State University’s land grant mission, working together to solve problems is natural for HealthTeam. Faculty from the Colleges of Human Medicine, Nursing and Osteopathic Medicine provides care at HealthTeam clinics and train the next generation of medical leaders in some of the locations.

“On March 11, 2020, I was approached by Kris Allen, of MSU HealthTeam, to get a team of five MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine students to help run a COVID-19 Call Center,” said Kate Wiewiora, College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2023 Vice President, East Lansing Campus. “I let her know that the MSUCOM Class of 2023 was ready and willing to help — just let us know what needed to be done.”

“I sent word out to my MSUCOM peers and made a sign-up sheet so that I would be able to create a schedule. Kris shared the sign up with both MSU College of Human Medicine and MSU College of Nursing,” said Wiewiora.

On Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8 a.m., the Triage Line was live. By the end of the day, the students triaged 45 calls and sent 1 to the local ER.

The level of Spartan volunteerism is remarkable. By the end of the day, we had 90 students signed up to help with the Triage Line.

“Soon, nearly 90 students were signed up, with some students hoping to volunteer over 20 hours a week. I was so thankful for such a passionate response from so many students at each of MSU’s health colleges – only with their help would this be possible,” said Wiewiora.

The MSU HealthTeam COVID-19 Triage Line is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Students from the three human health science colleges are trained and answer calls from patients under the supervision of Cathleen M. Hipps, MSN, RN, CNOR, and Colleen Hammond, RT(R), (MR), MRSO. Students screen patients for COVID-19 symptoms and direct them to proper care.

In addition to taking calls, health student volunteers are stationed at Clinical Center and Eyde entryways to offer wellness screenings for patients as they enter. Student volunteers are also assisting the pharmacy by taking patient calls and checking script refills as requested.

“MSU Pharmacy is making sure our patients, faculty, staff and retirees get their 90-day plus medication supplies with emergency overrides of 30 days if necessary.” Sandra Campbell, PharmD, Chief Pharmacist for HealthTeam. “Our staff is efficient and capable, even delivering to homes to help with social distancing. The student volunteers have allowed pharmacists to give the extra care needed during this stressful time.”

Through this experience, MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, MSU College of Human Medicine, and MSU College of Nursing have been able to collaborate to provide public health access and information to those who may be unable to obtain it otherwise.

For more information on MSU HealthTeam’s COVID-19 efforts, please visit