Millions of patients walk into emergency rooms every year to get medical attention. With the proliferating of medical series, everybody seems to be amazed with the 24 hour action hospital department with emergency nurses running and treating critically injured victims.
But how does emergency room really works?
According to Dr. Carl Bianco, writer of How Emergency Room Works, the first step in the emergency room process is the triage. A triage is an emergency nurse who categorizes and prioritizes the patient’s condition. The triage categorizes the patient’s situation into three categories:
1. immediately life threatening
2. urgent, but no immediately life threatening
3. less urgent
The triage is also responsible in recording the patient’s vital signs which are temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure. The triage also gets the brief patient history, medications, allergies to determine the appropriate category.
Registrations will be the next step. With the registration, additional information is obtained from the patient. Mainly insurance information, creation of medical record for reference while in the hospital. But for life threatening situations like car crash of life threatening cases, registration can be completed later on.
The patient will go next to the examination room where an emergency room nurse will get more detailed information about the sickness. There are certain hospitals that have divided their emergency department into areas dedicated to pediatric ER, a chest-pain ER, a fast track (for minor injuries and illnesses), trauma center (usually for severely injured patients) and an observation unit (for patients who do not require hospital admission but needs prolonged treatment or diagnostic tests).
After the nurse has completed her duty, the emergency physician will get a complete review of the information obtained from the patient. He then formulates a possible cause or diagnosis based on the symptoms.
Diagnostic tests are required when the physician sees that the patient’s symptom and physical examination failed to get a likely diagnosis. After conducting the diagnostic tests and was able to identify the probable diagnosis, necessary action or steps are undertaken to treat the patient.
Normally, a scene from the ER can be chaotic and confusing for a victim of patient’s family. A long line of patients wanting to be examined could a dreadful sight. There are some people who tried to get medical attention to no avail. Donna Mason, an emergency nurse gave CNN five things to remember in an ER:
1. Inform your doctor is you will be going to the emergency room.
2. Use the ambulance specifically for threatening situations. There would be instances that whenever emergency personnel can see that the patient can actually walk and chose to arrive with the emergency room to get attention, they asked the patient to step down and wait.
3. If the triage is not being helpful in addressing the case, speak up and look for the person in charge.
4. It is important to control temper at all times. It is also important not to lie about your symptoms just to get attention ahead of the others.
5. If things are really getting bad and nobody from the emergency department is helping, look for a house phone and inform the issue to the hospital administrator or patient advocate who is available 24 hours.
Emergency room experience can be tough and rough. It is necessary for us to understand the how things work to understand why some emergency room or departments will take a while to address patient issues. Emergency rooms are a mazes filled with emergency room nurses who I wager will be more than happy to take care of the patients.