24 Hour Health Clinic: Expectations vs. Reality
It is the middle of the night and you or some loved one is not feeling quite well and you believe that nothing in your medicine cabinet is capable of making them feel better. It does not help that your go-to doctor is out of town or on vacation, either way, you can’t call him as it is the dead of the night. What are your choices? The aim of this article is to show you what truly happens when you need a 24 hour health clinic in Biloxi. This is because people tend to have expectations about these sorts of places and they are taken aback when they realise that there is a lot more to it than their expectations. The aim of this article is to portray what a 24 hour health clinic is really like.
Why 24 Hour Health Clinics are important
The first important thing to note is that in the event of a life-threatening emergency it is always best to call 911. Patients typically have an average wait time when booking an appointment to see a doctor is over 20 days in most major cities in America. When you consider that wait times continue to skyrocket, it is no surprise that alternatives such as 24 hour health clinics have witnessed tremendous growth in a bid to meet similar rising rates of demand. While that is great, one does wonder how a 24 hour health clinic is different from an emergency room.
How is a 24 hour health clinic different from an emergency room?
An emergency room can be described as an extension of a hospital which provides critical care for emergency medical situations 24 hours a day. A 24 hour health clinic is perfect for those medical situations that need urgent care but are not as serious as those situations an emergency room will cater to. 24 hour health clinics typically function on a walk-in basis and are associated with a nearby hospital where more serious cases can be transferred to.
24 hour clinics in Biloxi are usually open all days of the week and are staffed by numerous doctors in shift rotations.
Do you need a 24 hour health clinic?
There are numerous factors to consider when you are trying to ascertain if a 24 hour health clinic is the right choice for your condition. The factors you have to pay attention to are:
How urgent your medical case is
The staff at the 24 hour health clinic
You might need a 24 hour health clinic if you happen to have an emergency situation. As stated earlier, medical experts state that when an emergency occurs you should dial the emergency services. Below are a few emergency situation examples:
Compound fractures in which a bone protrudes from the skin.
Seizures, lack of consciousness or convulsions
Gunshot wounds or knife wounds
Uncontrollable, heavy bleeding
Fever in a baby that is below 5 months of age
Breathing difficulty or chest pain
Serious back, neck or head injury
Symptoms of a heart attack like chest pain which lasts much longer than 2 minutes
Symptoms of stroke such as sudden numbness, vision loss, weakness, confusion, or slurred speech
Homicidal or suicidal feelings
While these are lists of emergency ailments or situations, emergency rooms in Biloxi are capable of treating any ailment. That being said, the more urgent serious scenarios tend to take priority and that could lead to waiting times that exceed hours all for non-emergency treatment. This also does not take into account that fact that visits to emergency rooms can be quite expensive.
For non-emergencies that still demand to be urgently attended to within 24 hours, it makes sense to go to a 24 hour health clinic. As stated earlier, these sorts of clinics have a certain leeway when it comes to walk-ins, however, this depends on the care level required. It is important to note that there are some medical situations 24 hour health clinics might not be able to handle. You might also not be able to access things such as MRIs or x-rays, however, this is dependent on the 24 hour health clinic itself.
What medical conditions are classified as non-emergencies?
There are some situations that necessitate medical attention within a 24 hour span, however, they are not classified as emergencies. They are:
Falls and accidents
Cuts which draw little blood but require stitches
Eye redness and irritation
Diagnostic services such as laboratory tests and x-rays
Flu or fever
Moderate back pain
Sever cough or sore throat
Minor fractures and broken bones in toes or fingers
Skin infections and rashes
Urinary tract infections
Strains and sprains
There are various staff types you might see when you go to a 24 hour health clinic, however, this is dependent on the location you go to in Biloxi. It is possible for you to see a PA, physician assistant, an NP, nurse practitioner or an MD, a doctor.
A physician assistant typically has 2 to 3 years of professional education. They are generally licensed to make physical examinations, request lab tests, diagnose illnesses, assist in surgeries or prescribe medication.
A nurse practitioner, on the other hand, has to be registered before they are able to further their clinical training and education to an advanced stage. This further training can include either a master’s or a doctorate’s degree with a specialisation in certain health fields such as women’s health, child health and more. Just as the physician assistant, a nurse practitioner is also able to diagnose illnesses, prescribe medication, order tests, and request medical history.
While physician assistants and nurse practitioners might not have the exact training and education as medical doctors, they are still legally licensed and qualified to undertake most of the functions a doctor does. For numerous medical conditions that are non-emergency such as sinus infections, UTIs, and flue, a physician assistant or nurse practitioner is able to not only diagnose but prescribe the required medication.