What to Expect in the Emergency Room

A trip to the emergency department is generally unexpected and it’s normal to feel anxious or confused when you arrive.

Emergency professionals, including those working in the Emergency Services Department at Doctor's Hospital of Laredo, follow a five-step process to reduce wait times and treat patients as quickly as possible.

Step 1: Triage - Triage is the process of assessing the severity of a patient’s condition. Nurses triage patients quickly so physicians see those with the most serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses first. During this step, the nurse may take your medical history. If your condition worsens as you wait, notify an emergency staff member immediately.

Step 2: Registration - Next, you’ll check in at the registration desk. The information you provide allows medical personnel to order tests in a timely manner. You may be registered at your bedside to reduce wait times.

Step 3: Exam - A physician, physician assistant or nurse will perform a physical exam in an examination room. At this time, the healthcare provider may order any necessary tests or X-rays. The hospital’s electronic medical record system stores this information to help healthcare professionals expedite your care.

Step 4: Diagnosis - Your provider will make a diagnosis based on your exam, symptoms and test results and determine the best course for treatment.

Step 5: Treatment - Depending on your emergency, your treatment may be simple or complex. Your nurse may administer an intravenous (IV) line to administer medications or fluids your physician orders. Additional lab work could be necessary depending on your condition. A physician makes a final decision to allow you to go home or admit you to the hospital.