Almost everyone has been subject to the long wait times in an emergency room. If you have not, you probably know someone who has. It can be incredibly frustrating when you are not feeling well and have to wait four hours to see a provider. While every facility is different, some general rules and tips apply nationwide:

  1. If you are not rushed back to see a doctor, this is usually a good sign. It often means you are going to be okay. It is the severely injured or critically ill patients that get seen right away. You do not want to be one of those.
  2. Long wait times are usually an indication of critically ill or injured patients arriving by ambulance. You will not see these patients entering, but know they are a possible explanation for lengthy wait times.
  3. Complaining about the wait time during your wait will not speed up the process. Best channel your energy into making your wait as comfortable as possible.
  4. Once you are checked in and registered, and a nurse or provider has given you an initial triage, there is no need to remind them that you are still waiting. Befriending the staff in an Emergency Room can go a long way when it comes to how your experience goes.
  5. If you have horrible abdominal pain, do not ask the staff for any food while you wait. It will lower your credibility even if you have horrible abdominal pain.
  6. Bring a book or tablet (with headphones). Most hospitals have WiFi for patients to use.
  7. BEFRIEND THE TRIAGE NURSE OR TRIAGE PROVIDER!

I hope none of you have to visit an emergency room, but if you do, remember these little tips to help the process go much more smoothly and comfortable.

Your Advocate,

Erik Wikman