Blog Post

June 8, 2021

What to Expect at Walk In Clinics

It is a simple fact that Americans get hurt or ill during their everyday lives, from cuts and bruises to the flu or an allergic reaction. When a person suffers from everyday afflictions like these, they should take themselves to walk in clinics, or a responsible adult should take them there. The good news is that there is no shortage of these clinics, and a person can find one with an Internet search on a smart phone or a PC. A person can look for local urgent healthcare with a search such as "urgent care center Burlington VT" or "walk in clinics near me downtown Los Angeles." Walk in clinics may be open a full 24 hours a day, and even if they are not, walk in clinics are bound to have broad hours of operation. What is there to know about American walk in clinics today? And what sort of illnesses might send someone to such a clinic?

Walk-in Clinics

Urgent care is provided at walk in clinics; that is, health care that does not threaten a person's life. Many thousands of these everyday clinic can be found across the United States, and they tend to be either independent, or part of a small network with each other. They may be standalone buildings, or they might be integrated into a strip mall, a retailer, or even a hospital. If a clinic is built into a hospital, patients should be aware that the medical treatment from the clinic and the hospital at large is kept separate. A patient may visit the hospital for just the walk in clinic, and never interact with the hospital's general services or staff.

In other cases, an urgent care center is built into a retailer; these are known as retail clinics. These retail clinics might be found in large retailers such as Target, Walmart, or Walgreens, and they may have similar hours of operation as the retailer where they are found. And given how these large retailers are designed to be easy to find and get parking for, it may be convenient to visit one, and a shopper may stop by the clinic to get a drug prescription refill at the pharmacy there.

Walk in clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can help patients deal with everyday illnesses or wounds, and such clinics may accept a wide variety of healthcare insurance policies (this may vary). If these clinics are running smoothly, they may see about three patients per hour, and a visiting patient may expect a wait time around 15 minutes long.

Illnesses and Wounds

Why might someone visit a walk in clinic? For example, a person may have suffered cuts that require stitches or bandages to heal, such as if they mishandled a knife or stepped on broken glass. The nurses at a clinic can provide this service for patients as needed. Four out of five such clinics can also treat bone fractures, and most such clinics can handle ankle or wrist sprains as well. Nearly 25,000 Americans suffer from ankle sprains every day, so it is important for them to visit a clinic right away. A patient may also get broken fingers or toes treated at these clinics.

Illnesses and allergies are another reason to visit the clinic. Patients there can get medicine for relief from the common cold and flu, and a person may also visit clinics for upper respiratory infections. In fact, upper respiratory infections are among the most common reason to visit these clinics, along with ankle sprains. What is more, someone with a bad rash, such as poison ivy, may visit an urgent care clinic for lotion or ointment for relief. Children and adults alike can be brought to an urgent care center, which may include pediatric services.

If a patient at a clinic has more specific or serious healthcare issues or needs, the staff there may redirect them and refer them to a nearby hospital or specialist as need be. The staff at a clinic are best suited for everyday, urgent care services rather than anything more specialized. Some patients to these clinics indeed need more specialized care, which is beyond the scope of a clinic.

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