Americans young and old will sometimes suffer injuries or illnesses in their everyday lives, and of course they should be taken to a medical facility right away for treatment. In the case of a non life-threatening illness, injury, or other condition, it is probably not necessary to visit a hospital’s emergency room (ER). Instead, it is a much more practical choice to visit urgent care locations in their area, and many thousands of these walk in clinics can be found across the United States today. When a victim needs to be taken to urgent care, a nearby responsible adult may conduct an online search to find medical care clinics in their area and choose a local location that is currently open. A search such as “urgent care near me Dallas TX” or “walk in clinics Seattle WA” are two such examples, and a person may also use their ZIP code to further refine this search. Urgent care clinics today can treat a wide variety of health problems, and they may prove much more affordable and convenient than an ER in any case. What is there to know about the urgent care industry in the United States today?
On Urgent Care
These urgent care clinics can provide expert, professional medical care for non life-threatening wounds and illnesses, and without the expense and long wait times of an emergency room. Most American cities and towns have at least a few of these clinics, and some rural areas have them, too. Every year, in fact, construction crews are building new urgent care centers in rural areas that do not yet have one, allowing more Americans than ever to access these convenient care centers. Today, most of these clinics are small and independent facilities, although some of them are linked into small local networks with one another. Many such clinics are standalone buildings or built into strip malls across North America, but some of them are in fact built into larger facilities such as a major retailer or even a hospital.
A patient who needs urgent care can visit the walk in clinic inside a hospital and receive care there, but ignore the hospital itself. After all, these clinics operate distinctly from the hospital at large, with separate staff and medical services. This is practical for patients who need urgent care but don’t need to actually visit the hospital’s ER. At any rate, it is inadvisable for an urgent care patient to visit the ER since that space is better reserved for patients who truly need it.
Meanwhile, a retail clinic is an urgent care or walk in clinic that is built into a major retailer such as Target, Walmart, and Walgreens, among others. These retail clinics typically have pharmacies in them, and this is highly convenient for shoppers, who can pick up prescription drug refills while doing their shopping. Such clinics are easy to access since the parent retailer will be easy to find and have ample parking space, although the clinics’ hours might vary somewhat from the retailer’s. A person may check this at their local retailer for future reference.
Whether inside a hospital or retailer or a strip mall, an urgent care center may have broad hours of operation for their patients, and some of them are in fact open all seven days per week and sometimes even 24 hours a day. These clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who have the training and medical supplies to treat a wide variety of ailments and illnesses. A clinic, if running smoothly, may see three patients per hour on average and a patient there may expect a wait time of close to 15 minutes.
Four out of five such urgent care locations can take care of bone fractures in their patients, ad most of these clinics can also treat ankle or wrist sprains (common injuries among Americans). These clinics can also provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, such as if a person touched or stepped on broken glass. Often, patient at these clinics get medicinal relief against the common cold or flu, and may get ointment and lotions for skin rash (often due to poison ivy). Upper respiratory infections are another common reason to visit these clinics.