Knowing When to Visit the ER or Urgent Clinics


Every day, many millions of people will suffer medical issues or wounds that call for professional medical attention. Today’s healthcare industry is a varied one, and it may include urgent care clinics (or walk in clinics), emergency care sites, pharmacies, and much more. If a victim gets hurt and needs help, then a nearby person may take them to urgent care centers in the area or, in more dire cases, the emergency room. If that person does not already know a local urgent care site, they can look online with a phrase such as “urgent care clinics near me dallas TX” or “walk in clinics in manhattan near me.” Doing this may show the name, address, and hours of local medical sites of the specified type. And if the patient needs care at an odd time of day, then the search may be for 24 hour care in particular. Not all clinics are open 24 hours a day, but some are.

Emergency Care Done Right

Just what does it mean to get emergency care? While “emergency” and “urgent” sound like a similar idea, they are distinct where medical care is concerned. Emergency care is for major or even life threatening medical cases that urgent care clinics cannot properly handle. An ER or an emergency clinic will be staffed with doctors and physicians who have the proper training and medicine to save a life. For example, a patient may have suffered a broken arm or a broken leg, or they may have experienced an injury to the head or the eyeballs. If a patient has difficulty breathing or chest pain, they will need the ER, since such conditions may soon turn life-threatening at any moment, if they are not already. Bullet wounds and stab wounds also call for emergency care, especially if they are bleeding heavily. And while most cases of abdominal pain are harmless, a patient might need the ER if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting. The underlying cause might be quite serious.

A hospital’s ER can save a life, but it should not be treated as a catch-all medical care site for all patients. Visiting emergency sites is expensive and time consuming, and visiting them for minor medical issues is impractical. That, and room should be saved for patients who truly need these services. Walk in clinics are best for patients with minor medical cases, but if it is not clear what level of care a victim needs, then hybrid clinics can help. A hybrid clinic offers urgent and emergency care side by side, making them a flexible option.

All About Urgent Care

It has been made clear that urgent care clinic are best for minor medical cases. Fortunately, this is a large and ever growing industry, and ever since the year 2000, over 2,500 urgent care clinics and walk in clinics have been built across the United States. These clinics are often small and independent, and they are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat minor medical problems among patients. If such a clinic is running smoothly, it may see three patients per hour, and visiting them is often much cheaper than the ER. This is why urgent care is often known as “convenient care.”

Often, these clinics are built into strip malls, but some of them can be found in large retailers, known as “retail clinics” for convenience of shoppers. Yet other clinics may be built into hospitals, and they offer distinct care from the hospital itself.

A guest at an urgent care clinic may visit the clinic’s pharmacy and get a prescription drug refill, and during influenza season, a guest may get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu. Meanwhile, four in five such urgent care centers also provide care for bone fractures, and nearly all of them can also provide treatment for wrist and ankle sprains (which are common injuries). Nurses on staff can provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts and wounds, and they can also provide lotion and ointment for cases of sunburn and bad rashes. Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit these clinics.

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