ER Visit FAQs

What can you expect when you come to the ER?
When you arrive at the ER, you'll be greeted and your information will be entered into the hospital computer system. Next, you'll be evaluated by a nurse who will ask for more detail about your medical problem, including background information. Then, you'll be taken to an exam room for appropriate tests and treatments.

How long does an emergency department visit take?
Time spent in the emergency department varies widely, due mainly to the seriousness of the illness and the number of tests needed. Patients leave the emergency department with exam and test results.

When should I visit my primary care provider instead of the ER?
In general, minor illnesses or conditions - common colds, minor skin rashes or other minor problems - should be treated by a primary care provider or through an urgent care clinic.

What tests can be performed in the emergency department?
Most basic and advanced diagnostic tests can be performed in the emergency department. Tests that aren't immediately necessary can be scheduled after you've been discharged from the ER.

What happens if the emergency physician recommends hospital admission? 
If your condition requires you to stay in the hospital, the emergency physician will contact your primary care physician or the appropriate specialist and arrange for them to admit you to the hospital. That physician assumes responsibility and directs your care while you're in the hospital.

What does "board-certified emergency medicine physician" mean?
A physician who is board certified in emergency medicine has completed four years of medical school, followed by three to four years of specialized training in emergency medicine. The training focuses on recognizing and managing any and all medical conditions that present to the emergency department and includes learning about life-saving interventional procedures.

Learn more about the ER departments of Lutheran Health Network