Text Size:SmallerNormalLargerPrint PageE-mail Page

What to Expect in the Emergency Department

If you have never been to the emergency department, you may not know what to expect. To help you understand what to expect while you are in the Emergency Department (ED), we have provided answers to some frequently asked questions.

Our skilled emergency care teams will give you and your family the best care possible.

1. Admission

If you require admission, please note that it may take time to coordinate the admission and obtain a room that is appropriate to your medical needs. Although we strive to serve you to the best of our ability, you may have to wait in the ED for an extended time. The most seriously ill or severely injured patients are treated first. Patients are not always seen and treated in the order that they arrive. Unlike a physician's office where appointments are schedule in advance, may emergency cases often arrive at once.

2. Triage (pronounced "tree-ahj") Nurse

This person will determine how severe your symptoms are. Patients are seen in the ED depending on how bad their symptoms are. You may be seen sooner or have to wait a little longer depending upon how ill or injured you are.

3. Exam Room

A nurse will ask you more medical questions and perform a general exam once you have been taken into an exam room. The nurse will make every effort to make you as comfortable as possible during your visit.

4. A Nurse Practitioner or a Physician

They will see you depending upon how severe your symptoms are. Nurse Practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training. They can diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications and perform physical exams.

5. Testing

If you need testing before treatment for your illness or injury can begin, your time in the ED will be longer. The average wage time is 1.5-3 hours depending on the amount of tests needed. Our nurses will make every effort to make sure you are comfortable during this time. Once the nurse has received your test results, the physician will review them and share with you the diagnosis and treatment options available.

6. Discharge

Once you have been cared for you will be able to return home. If you are too ill or injured to return home you will be admitted to our hospital or transferred to another hospital. You will be provided with directions on how to care for yourself, prescriptions and the name of a physician you should follow up with about your care i the ED.

7. Billing

You will receive one bill from the hospital and a separate bill from the Emergency Department physician who provided your care. You will receive additional separate bills from any physician that performed services, such as x-ray interpretation, pathology tissue examination etc.

Depending on the time of day, severity of your illness or injury and treatment plan your visit to the ED will be anywhere from three to five hours. This time might be longer if you need to be admitted to our hospital or transferred to another hospital. Our goal is to provide you with the best care in the shortest time.


Every effort will be made to accommodate family and friends, but at times if the ED is congested, we may ask visitors to wait in the main lobby.

Give us your feedback

Also, after you are treated and released, you may receive a survey regarding your recent experience in our Emergency Department. Please complete the survey and return it to us as soon as possible. We value and appreciate your feedback, and we will use your comments to identify areas that we can improve. We also encourage you to recognize any of our staff members who may have gone above and beyond in delivering your care.