The American medical industry is quite large, and it comes in many different forms. It may sometimes be tempting to think that a hospital is the default medical center that a person can visit for any reason, but this is not so. A hospital is best reserved for a patient with life-threatening medical problems or serious injuries, but everyday medical issues are best resolved at urgent care centers instead. These walk in clinics are much more convenient and affordable than an emergency room anyway, and a clinic that is running smoothly may see three patients per hour. A guest there may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes or so before they get treatment at the hands of the clinic’s nurse practitioners and physicians. A person may find local urgent care centers online if they don’t already know one, and a responsible adult may do this for the benefit of a nearby patient. The seeker may search “24 hour urgent care near me,” for example, if the victim needs medical care at an odd time of day. And patients younger than 18 will need to see a pediatrician in particular. Ordinary urgent care clinics expect adult patients, but pediatricians will be present at a pediatric clinic.
On Urgent Care
Speaking broadly, urgent care is best for any patient who has a non life-threatening medical problem. A few thousand of these urgent care clinics can be found across the United States today, having been built every year since the early 1990s or so. Often, these are independent clinics that stand alone, or they may form small local networks with one another. Many of them are built into strip malls for easy access and convenient parking, and they may have “urgent care” in their name. In other cases, an urgent care clinic may be built into a retailer such as Target or Walgreens, typically known as retail clinics. These clinics often have a pharmacy in them, so shoppers can pick up their drug prescription refills during a shopping trip.
The nurse practitioners and physicians working at an urgent care clinic, along with the pharmacists, can handle a wide variety of health problems among their patients. A guest might visit not only for the pharmacy on site, but also to get medicinal relief from the cold or flu during influenza season, or the stomach flu. It’s also common to visit these centers for getting lotion and ointment to deal with rashes or sunburn, or similar skin conditions. A patient may visit for physical wounds too, such as getting braces for an ankle or wrist sprain (this is quite common, such as sports injuries). Four in five urgent care clinics can also provide care for bone fractures, and the nurse can provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts.
As mentioned above, these clinics can take care of non life threatening issues among adult patients, but someone who needs emergency care should go to a hospital, and child patients will need to see pediatricians instead.
Child Urgent Care
Like their parents, children sometimes need medical attention for non-emergency cases, but most medical practitioners are trained to handle adult patients. Instead, if a child needs urgent care, their parents or guardian (or any other trusted adult nearby) may look up a pediatric urgent care clinic, and personally transport the young patient there. This may involve specifying “pediatrician” or “pediatric care” when conducting an online search, such as “24 hour pediatric care near me.” This may show the location, address, and name of local children’s clinics.
A pediatrician is a specialized, board-certified doctor who is familiar with the anatomy of children and babies, and is familiar with the particular health need and common problems of young patients. Many parents have a private pediatrician they regularly take their child to, but sudden medical cases may be too inconvenient for arranging an appointment with that private doctor. Instead, the staff at a pediatric clinic will know how to treat a child’s wounds or diagnose an illness, and the pediatricians working there may refer the parents to a specialist if need be. Children often suffer colds, for example, much more often than their parents do, and they may also suffer frequent ear infections as well.