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Golisano Children's Hospital / Pediatric Emergency Medicine / What to Expect in the Emergency Department

What to Expect in the Emergency Department

Coming to the Emergency Department can be a frightening experience for both child and parent. We hope that the following information on what you can expect if your child needs to visit the ED will help.

The People

  • Attending Physicians. This is the senior physician in the ED and is a specialist in Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics. He or she will discuss diagnosis and treatment plans with your child's Nurse, Resident and/or Nurse Practitioner.
  • Fellows. These physicians have completed their residency training and are now working closely with the subspecialty physicians in the area in which they have chosen to specialize—in this case pediatric Emergency Medicine.
  • Residents. Residents are fully qualified, licensed physicians who have graduated from medical school and have come to Golisano Children’s Hospital for advanced training in Pediatrics or Emergency Medicine. Resident Physicians write orders and make decisions related to your child’s care under the direct supervision of the attending physician. A Resident Physician will typically be the first doctor to see your child. He or she will thoroughly examine your child, then will consult with the attending physician to determine the diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Medical Students. Medical students have completed an undergraduate program and two years of medical school to acquire knowledge and skills to become a doctor. Working under the close supervision of your child’s attending physician and residents, medical students will not make independent decisions about treatment but will still serve an important role in your child’s care. They are another pair of educated eyes and ears and excellent researchers as well.
  • Nurses. Nurses are intimately involved with every aspect of your child's care, from helping the physicians assess and treat your child's condition, to giving medication, to supporting parents during difficult times. If you or your child need anything or have any questions, please ask your nurse.
  • Nurse Practitioners. Children may be seen by a Nurse Practitioner, who will also examine your child and may consult with the attending physician to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan.
  • Patient Care Technicians. Patient Care Technicians assist the nurses and doctors by checking your child’s temperature, blood pressure and pulse. They may perform blood draws or help with other procedures as well.
  • Child Life Specialists. These professionals give emotional support to both child and family and help prepare children for medical procedures. They are trained and certified at the bachelors or masters level. They are here every day from 2:00 p.m. to midnight.

The Process

  • Triage. The first person your child will see is the Triage Nurse. The Triage Nurse assesses each patient's condition, prioritizes them in the order of their clinical urgency and sends them to the most appropriate assessment and treatment area. Every effort is made to keeping waiting times short and we will try to give you updates as often as possible. If you think that your child's condition is worsening and he or she needs immediate care, please let a nurse know.
  • Registration. The Registration Clerk will obtain basic information from you and will verify insurance information.
  • Treatment Area. Following triage, medical care begins. Once you and your child are taken to a treatment room, a nurse will take your child's medical history and answer any questions. Soon after, your child will be seen by a Resident Physician or Nurse Practitioner, then the attending physician. This care team will determine the treatment plan for your child. If necessary, blood work and other tests such as x-rays may also be performed. After treatment has begun, the registration clerk will come to your child's room to complete the registration process.
  • Treatment Plan. Emergency Department physicians will discuss your child's treatment plan with you. If your child requires admission to the hospital, the ED physician will discuss this with you.
  • Going Home. When your child is ready to go home, the ED physician will provide a copy of the treatment plan, any prescriptions, and will let you know when to make an appointment for follow-up care. We will forward information about your child's stay in the ED to his or her primary care physician (if you don't have a primary care physician, we'll be glad to refer you to one). Our social worker can help arrange any special services you may need. On your way out, you will be asked to stop at our discharge window where a secretary will review your personal and insurance information and collect any co-pays for the visit.
  • Hospital Admission. If your child is admitted, he or she will go to one of the following areas within the hospital:

Facts at a Glance

  • We cannot give medical advice over the telephone. Feel free to come to the Emergency Department at any time or call your Primary Care Physician for medical advice.
  • We're open 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.
  • No appointments are necessary.
  • Critically ill patients are always the priority, regardless of who has been waiting longer.
  • Both parents may stay with young children.
  • Interpreters are available either in the ED or by phone.