When you head to the emergency department, you are likely dizzy, in pain, or otherwise suffering. Illness and pain tend to make waiting rooms, medical questioning, and hospital procedures even more challenging to endure. The staff at your emergency room wants you to know that when you need them, they are there to help you through your time of crisis. However, as they work to prioritize the medical crises in the emergency department, there are several things emergency room staff may wish their patients knew.
15. They May Be Reeling from a Trauma Situation
While the emergency staff does have sympathy for the pain and misery associated with an earache, they also deal with life and death situations. Your nurse may not seem immediately responsive to your requests. If so, it may help to keep in mind that he may have just come from treating a gunshot wound, heart attack, or car accident victim. Just as with any individuals you come across in daily life, you cannot know what turmoil and pain a person has just experienced. Be willing to give your emergency caretaker the benefit of the doubt.
14. Nothing Surprises Them
When you come to the emergency room, do not be afraid to be fully honest and open with staff about the information that may help them make a diagnosis or treat your condition. No matter how embarrassing your situation may seem, withholding information only serves to make treating you more challenging. Recognize that the doctors and nurses who treat you are professionals that can handle the truth about your medical condition.
13. Your Doctor Can Call in Ahead
If your doctor advises a visit to the emergency room, it may be helpful to have her call ahead to let staff know you are on the way. This helps them to prepare for your arrival. Your doctor may also be able to provide them with useful medical information about your condition. Furthermore, when your doctor calls ahead, you may experience less time in the waiting room.
12. Check with Them First If You Need to Pee
If you have been in the waiting room for a while, you may develop the need to pee. Before you head to the bathroom, check with the emergency staff to determine if they may need a urine sample. It can be frustrating to empty your bladder only to discover moments later that your doctor needs a sample.
11. Reserve the Emergency Room for Emergencies
It should go without saying, but the emergency room is for true emergencies. According to Beaumont Health, it is crucial to head to the emergency room if you experience symptoms including, but not limited to, chest pain, wheezing, open wounds, and broken bones. Other emergency situations may involve uncontrolled bleeding, dizziness, confusion, or the inability to see, talk, or walk. On the other hand, it is better to visit an urgent care center or doctor’s office for illnesses such as sore throats, runny noses, and earaches.
10. It Helps if You Give Realistic Pain Estimates
The pain rating scale presented at the emergency room can seem silly or unrealistic when you are experiencing pain. However, medical staff can better diagnose your condition and manage your pain if you give realistic estimates of your pain. It may help to think of the worst pain imaginable as being a ten on the scale, and no pain at as being a zero.
9. Emergency Situations Are Seen First
Keep in mind that emergency room personnel are continuously evaluating patients. Their goal is to prioritize situations that require immediate attention over those that can safely wait. Therefore, patients with true emergencies may receive attention first. The Western Maryland Health System uses a color system to determine which cases need immediate attention. Green signifies illnesses that are not life-threatening. Yellow represents patients with serious injuries or signs of significant illness. Red denotes a life-threatening injury or medical condition. Finally, black represents a patient who has died or has sustained a mortal injury.
8. Being Polite Goes a Long Way
When dealing with any humans, politeness goes a long way toward softening attitudes and winning support. Speaking politely and respectfully with the receptionist, aide, nurse, or doctor may help ease their burden and gain their respect. Wouldn’t you act more favorably toward someone who is polite than toward someone who is demanding and rude?
7. They Want You to Ask Questions
The goal of emergency room care is to diagnose and treat your condition and determine a course of action. If you do not understand your treatment plan, these efforts can be foiled. Don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding future tests that are needed, which medications you need to take, or how to perform self-care procedures at home. A misunderstanding may just land you back in the emergency department or hospital.
6. It Helps If You Know Your Medications
If you take a variety of medications, it can be helpful to carry a list of those medications and their doses in your wallet or purse. Knowledge of the prescription and over-the-counter medications you are already taking can help your ER physician diagnose your symptoms and make a treatment plan. Since many medications may interact negatively with other drugs, it is critical to know the names of the meds you are taking. It is never helpful to tell your doctor you take a “little orange pill” or “long white tablet.”
5. They Can Tell If You Are Seeking Narcotics
If you are considering visiting the emergency department with the goal of obtaining narcotics, just don’t. Medical personnel can tell if the intent of your visit is simply to obtain narcotic medications. Avoid wasting your time and that of the emergency room workers. Allow emergency room staff to tend to the legitimate healthcare crises that crowd their waiting rooms.
4. It’s Okay to Ask to Speak with Them Privately
If you have arrived at the emergency room with friends or loved ones, it is perfectly acceptable to ask to speak to your doctor or nurse in private. There are often symptoms or situations that you would be more comfortable discussing out of earshot of your companions. Your emergency caregivers recognize that fact and are happy to grant you the privacy you need to speak freely.
3. Some Test Results Take Time
It can be frustrating to wait for test results when you have already spent time in the waiting room and exam room. However, obtaining the results of lab tests can take time. Furthermore, imaging scans such as x-rays or CT scan require reading by specially trained radiologists. If you have undergone testing, try to make yourself as comfortable as possible while awaiting your results.
2. We Don’t Enjoy Making You Wait
Waiting around is frustrating and uncomfortable. Furthermore, waiting while you are feeling sick or in pain can be especially challenging. It may help to remember that the emergency staff takes no joy in making you wait. Their desire is for you to obtain a diagnosis, experience relief, and get started on a path to renewed health and wellbeing. Therefore, venting your frustrations over time spent in the emergency room only serves to make both of you even more miserable.
1. They Want You to Be Comfortable
Emergency room personnel tend to be individuals who care for others, thrive on pressure, and delight in solving medical puzzles and dilemmas. They likely pursued their careers out of a desire to ease human suffering and promote healing. Therefore, their goal for your stay in the ER is for you to be as comfortable as possible. The ultimate goal is for you both to work toward developing a plan to treat your illness, repair your injury, or ease your suffering.