What to Expect
We know that for most people, the emergency room is a foreign and frightening place. Patients, families and emergency department staff are in close quarters, with a wide range of illnesses and injuries all together in one location. A lot can be happening very quickly. The other patients around you are not feeling well, or are in pain from their injuries. You and your family may see and hear things that make you uncomfortable.
We try our best to make the Emergency Department as comfortable and calm as possible. We work hard to foster an atmosphere of normalcy, to help ease the stress of each patient's illness or injury, and make it easier for the patient and their family to understand their treatment.
We also do our best to maintain an atmosphere of normalcy for our Emergency Department staff. They have stressful jobs. We count on them each minute of the day to make life-saving decisions. While many Emergency Departments across the country face problems with staff "burnout," we have been able to hire and retain some of the best staff in the country, staff members who give our patients the best care current science can provide.
We take our jobs and your health very seriously. At the same time, we try to provide as normal and pleasant a working atmosphere as possible for our staff. By maintaining a calm demeanor, by talking about everyday happenings like the weather or the latest sports event, even by laughing and joking about our everyday experiences, our emergency department staff is able to lower the stress level for our patients and their families as well as for themselves.
If you have any concerns, please let us know. In the emergency room, we are one big family, and everyone's health is our priority.
The Emergency Department registration process is designed to obtain all the information needed to identify you, find your previous records, and direct your care. We do our best to make it as simple as possible.
It is not uncommon for several patients to arrive at the same time. When this happens our nurses need to "triage" the patients, deciding who is the sickest and needs the most urgent attention. We wish we could take care of everyone immediately. Patient care and safety, however, is our first priority. When we are crowded, the sickest must be treated first. If you or your loved one is not among the "sickest," please know that we are monitoring everyone's condition, and will get to you as soon as possible.
We treat everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.
Our experienced nurses specialize in emergency care -- many have been working in the emergency department for most of their careers. Each day they commit themselves to caring for sick and injured people, specializing in rapid assessment, prompt treatment, and communicating with the physicians, technicians and other staff to make sure each patient receives the care they need. Even though the Emergency Department is frequently a hectic atmosphere, where every second counts, the nurses continue to perform their most important duties:
- Keeping you safe
- Keeping your doctors informed
- Starting your IV's
- Administering medications
- Smiling and being friendly and supportive
Phlebotomy (Drawing Blood or Starting an IV)
There aren't many who are a fan of having their blood drawn. In the Emergency Department, however, blood work may be vital in order to determine your condition and treatment. Our phlebotomists are specially trained just in drawing blood. They do everything possible to make the process comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.
In the Emergency Department, an x-ray may be vital to determine your diagnosis and treatment. Scientists and physicians agree that when imaging is necessary for immediate medical intervention, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
The amount of radiation you receive from an X-ray is very low. According to the Radiological Society of North America, exposure from a chest X-ray is equal to the amount of radiation received in 10 days from everyday sources, such as radon gas in our homes, the sun, and cosmic radiation from outer space. Still, if you fear an X-ray could be harmful, discuss your concerns with your doctor. The radiation exposure from CT scans is significantly higher than from a single X-ray. MRI and ultrasound produce no radiation exposure.
If there is any chance that you are pregnant, be sure you tell any doctor or dentist ordering an X-ray. There is a slight risk that the X-rays will harm your developing child. This is because your child's tissues are growing rapidly, making them more sensitive to radiation than tissues of an adult.
So, for your unborn child's safety, X-rays should not be taken of your abdomen and should be taken of other parts of your body only after you have been fitted with a special shield for your abdomen.