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Frequently Asked Questions

Why do patients have to wait for treatment in the Emergency Department?
How long can I expect to be in the Emergency Department?
Why are some patients seen before others?
What is triage?
Who will be caring for me?
Can my family visit me in the treatment area?
How long does it take to get laboratory or radiology results?
How can I provide feedback about my Emergency Department visit?


Why do patients have to wait for treatment in the Emergency Department?
There are many reasons why you may have to wait for treatment in the Emergency Department. These could include:

  • Waiting while the most severe patients are seen first.
  • Overcrowding due to epidemics, such as the flu, or ambulance diversions. Also, since appointments aren’t scheduled like at a doctor’s office, it’s not uncommon for several patients to arrive at once.
  • Waiting for lab or radiology results.
  • Waiting for consultations from specialists.
  • The hospital is full with admitted patients, which could cause patients to remain in the Emergency Department longer than anticipated.

How long can I expect to be in the Emergency Department?
It’s hard to say. Your condition will be evaluated by a triage nurse, and you’ll be seen based on severity. Patients with life-threatening conditions, such as a heart attack or stroke, are seen first.

Once in the treatment area, the length of your stay depends on your symptoms, whether you need test results or consultations from a specialist, and whether you need to be admitted to the hospital.

How long you’re in the Emergency Department may also depend on how busy the department is, and some days and times are busier than others.

Please keep in mind that quality care takes time, so your patience is appreciated.

Why are some patients seen before others?
We must care for critical patients with life-threatening conditions first. If you have a minor illness or injury, you may have to wait while patients with more serious conditions are seen before you are.

What is triage?
Triage (pronounced “tree-ahj”) is the process that determines the order in which patients will be seen based on the severity of their conditions. A triage nurse will evaluate the severity of your condition by asking about your symptoms, obtaining and reviewing your medical history, and taking your vital signs such as your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Who will be caring for me?
As a patient in the Emergency Department, your care team will include a combination of the following highly-skilled and compassionate professionals:

  • A medical doctor (MD) has the overall responsibility for your care.
  • A physician assistant (PA) is trained to provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services as delegated by a physician.
  • A registered nurse (RN) will assess and monitor your physical condition, give you medication, maintain your IV and keep your family informed of any tests or procedures. Your nurse will also provide you with important discharge information before you go home. Each nurse is responsible for several patients, and works very closely with your doctor to provide you with the best possible care.
  • Other department technicians may work with you, your nurse, and your doctor. These include radiology, laboratory, and respiratory techs.

Can my family visit me in the treatment area?
You may have one adult family member with you in the treatment area. If the patient is a child, both parents may stay with the child, provided other children are not left unsupervised. If the Emergency Department is particularly crowded, or if a caregiver feels that you need privacy, your visitor may be asked to return to the waiting area.

How long does it take to get laboratory or radiology results?
In order to accurately diagnose your condition and provide you with the best care possible, we need time to review all ordered tests. Most laboratory and radiology results could take up to two hours. However, some tests take longer than others.

How can I provide feedback about my Emergency Department visit?
After you are treated and released, you’ll receive a survey where you can share more about your experience. If you have concerns about your care, you may call the Patient Satisfaction Representative at (505) 913-5539. If you have feedback after your visit, you may contact the Emergency Department Clinical Manager at (505) 913-3947.

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