A Patient Journey Through the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s General Hospital

Published by Darron Toy on


If you have an emergency we will be here for you. This guide will illustrate a typical visit. We hope you find it helpful. Each patient visit is different and yours may not happen quite like, this depending on the seriousness of your illness or injury. You will be asked many questions and moved to different areas as we look for diagnosis and decide on the best care for you. After you walk through the main door, touch the computer screen in front of you. A paper will print with a number that puts you in line to see a triage nurse. On the page are questions asking about possible symptoms that may require you to wear a mask. Keep the paper and take a seat in the waiting room. When your number is called, you will give it to the triage nurse. The triage nurse will call you to the triage area and ask questions to help decide how quickly you need to be seen. From there, he or she will help determine what three areas of the emergency department best suit your needs. People who are more seriously ill or injured may be seen before you. People arriving by ambulance will have a different experience. After triage you will move to the registration area. The clerk will ask some basic questions about your medical history and contact information to create an official record of your visit. This record will be used by members of your care team. You may be asked some of the same questions from triage. These are for record keeping, a different purpose. You will be told where to go and what to do next. From the waiting room he might be asked to go to another room to have your blood, urine or heart rhythm tested by a technician. These test results will be ready when the doctor or nurse assesses you. The results will help you be diagnosed and have treatment started. After this, you might return to the waiting room. Based on the information collected so far, you may be asked to take yourself to a treatment area. If you are going there, place your chart in the labelled basket. A nurse, volunteer or clerk might assist you to the room. Many of you will be asked to sit in a chair or recliner to await your assessment. This allows us to see more patients more quickly due to space constraints. A nurse, nurse practitioner or doctor may ask more questions including why you came to the emergency department. You may have already been asking some of these questions. It is helpful for the care team to hear the answers in your own words. It also includes monitoring as you are now in a nurse’s care. A doctor or a nurse practitioner will review your record and test results and may ask more questions. The information will be used to provide an initial diagnosis. You may begin getting treatment or go for more tests. A doctor or nurse practitioner may ask you to stay in the department after your diagnosis. so a nurse can provide treatment and monitor your symptoms. The decision about whether you can go home or need to stay in the hospital is made by the doctor or nurse practitioner. We hope this guide has been very helpful. We want you to have the best experience possible in the emergency department. If you have questions about your diagnosis after you leave, your family doctor can help answer them.

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