There are two common types of urgent care facilities you can go to when you need urgent medical care. The first is an urgent care clinic in a retail store or pharmacy. The second is an urgent care facility in a hospital, which differs from the emergency room. All non-trauma cases are referred to the urgent care facility in the hospital and trauma cases, including cases where injuries were sustained from weapons, are handled in the E.R. So, which one should you go to the next time you need medical attention? Here is some insight on what both of these types of urgent care facilities can and cannot do, in case you need help deciding.
Urgent Care in a Retail Store or Pharmacy
Urgent care clinics in these locations are usually staffed by a registered nurse and one or two physician's nurses, who are higher up in nursing and just below a doctor. Sometimes an actual doctor may be on staff, but to keep costs low, these clinics hire nurse practitioners (NPs) instead. They can treat sore throats, upper respiratory problems, sprains, strains, headaches, migraines, breathing issues, pneumonia, bronchitis, mono, and minor bone fractures. They may also perform physical exams, provide vaccinations and wellness shots, and prescribe medications to treat your symptoms. Head wounds, scrapes, cuts and a few other things may be within their scope, but they may not be able to treat more severe injuries.
You can usually get in to this type of urgent care clinic within 20 minutes, especially if the clinic is not busy. The wait times make the more extreme cases easier on the patients. If you want faster urgent care, then this might be the right option for you.
Urgent Care Facilities in a Hospital
Walking into an urgent care facility in a hospital is a catch-22. If it is packed with cases, you may have a long wait. If it is not packed with cases, you may still have a long wait depending on how soon a doctor can make it into the clinic. The clinic typically relies on hospital staff to fill urgent care needs, so you see a doctor as soon as one is available, even though you might be in an exam room before then. The good thing is, you will probably see a doctor more often in an urgent care clinic in a hospital than you will in a clinic located elsewhere.
Additionally, if your health concerns take a turn for the worse (stomach pain turns into fever and fainting), you are in the right place to have it handled. You can be quickly moved to the emergency room for immediate processing. It also means that your insurance will cover it because you were already present at a covered facility.
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