Going to the Emergency Department is not something I look forward to (I don't think anyone does really). But, as a parent to 3 small kids it has become a once in a while part of life. My most recent experience was with our daughter who was vomiting uncontrollably (every 5 minutes or so for about 2 hours before I brought her in). As she was under one, I went fully prepared to stay the night if needed. (Dehydration is what was my biggest concern). So I grabbed a change of jammies for her and a book for me and went in.
Let me say that I have full and complete admiration for the nurses, doctors, security guards, techs and any other staff that work there. I would not want your job for any money in the world. They are the most patient people.
The sheer volume of patients that come through always takes me away. How people handle that just drives me nuts though. I know when I go in that there will be a wait, probably a very long one (which is why I grabbed the book). Chances are there will be someone (or a lot of someones) whose needs are greater than yours. So be prepared for that. Complaining about it doesn't help. It doesn't get you in any faster. Nights and weekends after the walk-in or after-hours clinics are closed are going to be even heavier in volume.
One thing that got to me was the fellow who came in raging at the nurse about the parking rates. Yes, I totally agree with him that they are ridiculously high, but what exactly do you expect triage to do about it?
Our E.D. has a great slide show in the waiting area that lets people know about their time in the emergency. It's so clear about how patients are assessed and what to expect. It's too bad people just can't pay attention to the notices and let the staff do their job. Really, they are working as fast as they can. But you want them to be thorough too don't you? When it's your turn would you rather have a doctor rush through your time, or, take the time to figure out what needs to be done? Also, once they've given you instructions, why in the world would you complain about them? If you need to be monitored, let them monitor you. They are trained professionals.
Sorry this has turned into a bit of a rant, more so than I intended. Really all I wanted to say was, yes, going to the Emergency Department is not fun, but it is sometimes necessary. You can help make it better by being prepared. Prepare to wait. Pay attention to the signs and instructions. Use the kid-friendly space (most have them) to watch cartoons and keep your little one still. Bring a change of clothes for them if you can, and a few small toys. Remember to bring any medicines they have had with you to show the nurses. Stay calm yourself, your child picks up on your own stress and emotions. If you stay calm, it helps them to stay calm.
As for my daughter...she was seen and given medication to stop the vomiting. Yep, we had to wait 2 hours before she was seen by a doctor and another hour after to make sure the medicine worked. I did appreciate the admitting nurse coming by to check on her while we waited, it was really kind of her.
Thank you E.D. staff for what you do.