Emergency Department

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do when I get to the Emergency Department (ED)?

Triage nurse

First go to the triage nurse. Follow the signs. The purpose of triage is to quickly assess your child's needs and to begin planning his/her care.

A nurse will ask you the reason for your visit and examine your child. From triage, you will go to the registration desk. However, if you are brought directly to an ED treatment room, a clerk will come to your child's bedside to register you.

Registration desk

If you are asked to go to this area, a clerk will ask you for the information needed for your child's chart and will have you sign a consent for your child's treatment.

After you register, please take a seat in the waiting area.

Waiting area

Listen for your name to be called.

A nurse will bring you into the ED as soon as a room is available. If you think your child's condition has changed while you are waiting, please tell the triage nurse.


Once in a patient care room your child will be examined and evaluated by a team of nurses and doctors who will ask questions that will help manage your child's care in the ED.

Your child may need to have X-rays or blood tests or to see a specialist. Please understand that you may have to wait for these results. Our staff will try to make you and your child as comfortable as possible during your wait.

Extended Care Area

There are times when it is important to monitor or treat your child for more that a few hours in our Emergency Department. In some cases, your child may be moved to the Extended Care Area adjacent to our main ED. The ED attending physicians will still be responsible for your child's care in this area. If a longer hospitalization is required, your child may at some point be moved to an inpatient bed upstairs.

If your child is admitted

Your doctor may decide that your child needs to stay in the hospital. In this case, your child will stay in the ED until he/she is brought to a hospital room upstairs to be taken care of by a medical or surgical team.

If your child Is discharged

When your ED visit is over, we give you written instructions about your child's home treatment, medications and follow-up care. A list of 24-hour pharmacies is available at your request.

How long might I wait to see the doctor?

Children with life-threatening illnesses, such as those who are not breathing, are seen first. Other children are seen in the order in which they arrive. During certain hours of the day (usually evenings), children with less serious problems are sent to a special Urgent Care Area of the Emergency Department.

We try to see all patients as quickly as possible. Sometimes there are many patients, and our staff is busy caring for very ill children. At these times, the wait may be an hour or longer.

Who will see my child in the Emergency Department?

We will assign a specially trained nurse to care for your child.

Many of the doctors in the ED are training to be pediatricians or emergency specialists. An attending physician will head the medical team that diagnoses and treats your child. There is at least one board-certified pediatric emergency specialist in the ED at all times.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child's treatment, please ask your nurse or doctor.

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