Let’s say you’re an ER nurse. What if your patients could have shorter waits and expert care every time they entered the emergency room? In answer to that question, Florida healthcare offerings are expanding, opening half a dozen stand-alone ERs in the southern part of the state. That’s good news for travel nurses in pursuit of high paying Florida nursing jobs! It’s also a ray of sunshine for patients, disgruntled by overcrowded traditional ERs; the freestanding alternatives sprouting up are lowering their costs and providing more choice; stand-alone ERs reportedly lower costs across the board, increase revenue for healthcare employers and improve their bottom line.
So, what exactly is a stand-alone ER?
It has all of the high tech equipment and clinically trained staff that a traditional ER has, but there’s no hospital attached, and no beds. If a patient’s critical needs cannot be met there, an ER ambulance is standing by to transport them to the best local hospital. While hospitals CEOs insist the concept is raising brand awareness for ER’s, particularly in suburban communities, it’s not a perfect scenario yet. Healthcare officials also worry that patient transfers at stand-alone ERs will cause delays for critically injured patients requiring surgery. Yet it’s argued that patient transfers are just as commonplace in traditional ERs.
Why this change to the traditional Emergency Room? It seems to be in direct response to how overcrowded they’re getting in Florida and other U.S. states. As visits to the emergency room climbed 30% in the last decade, and, according to the CDC, wait times also skyrocketed, the national healthcare system’s response was to create the concept of a stand-alone ER—and lots of people in need of care are going there; a total of 241 of them have opened in the country so far!
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Footnote: Want to read the entire article on stand-alone ERs? Click Sun Sentinel’s link. Interested R.N.s may also refer back to A Journal of the American Medical Association’s study for current stats on visits to the ER.