Urgent care centers can be found throughout Central Jersey, including Skillman where Saint Peter’s Healthcare System recently opened one. But what is an urgent care center and why should you consider going to one? For starters, they are convenient. Appointments are not necessary. If your doctor cannot see you and you need or would like to see a doctor sooner than later, you can walk in and expect prompt care. And at this time of the year, you can also get a flu shot.
Let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions about urgent care centers.
What is an urgent care center?
An urgent care center is usually a standalone facility staffed physician assistants and advanced practice nurses under the supervision of a primary care physician. The Saint Peter’s Urgent Care Center is staffed by board certified physicians, often in emergency medicine, and licensed practical nurses. Urgent care centers usually open 365 days a year. Patients of all ages are treated, from children to senior citizens.
When should I go to an urgent care center?
Healthcare professionals trained in emergency medicine treat lacerations, minor sports and orthopedic injuries, colds, coughs, fever, asthma, back pain and sore throats.
What other conditions are treated in an urgent care center?
- minor injuries
- minor lacerations
- eye redness or irritation
- minor fractures (fingers, toes)
- urinary tract infections
- upper respiratory tract infections
- fever or flu
- sore throat
- skin rashes
- skin infections
- sprains and strains
What if I need blood work or an X-ray?
Although it is not the norm, some urgent care centers such as Saint Peter’s have medical technologists and x-ray technicians on site to perform X-rays. Most urgent care centers perform rapid strep tests and finger-stick blood glucose testing onsite.
What if I am experiencing symptoms of a heart attack such as chest pain or tingling and numbing which can be a symptom of a stroke?
Patients with serious medical conditions such as chest pain, stroke symptoms or major trauma should call 9-1-1 or be taken to the nearest hospital emergency department.
What other conditions are treated in an emergency department?
- deep cuts or bleeding that won’t stop
- large bone fractures
- problems related to pregnancy
- knife or gunshot wounds
- coughing or vomiting blood
- chest pain
- suspected stroke or heart attack
- difficulty breathing
- severe burns
- loss of consciousness
- abdominal pain
Convenient and prompt care make urgent care centers a good option for many patients experiencing a medical condition that is not life threatening.
Courtesy of Heather Veltre, RN, MAS, nursing director of Emergency Services at Saint Peter’s University Hospital. For more information about urgent care center services at Saint Peter’s call 609-497-4597.