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The Need for Urgent Care Nurses

Urgent care facilities have become an integral part of the healthcare system, but their benefits require specific skills. Advanced practice nurses play a significant role in overseeing care in various spaces, including urgent care clinics.

Working at an Urgent Care Facility

According to Nurse Advisor Magazine, “because of its immediate care, urgent care facilities are becoming popular among patients, especially since they treat more common ailments, like the flu or strep throat.”

Compared to a hospital or doctor’s office, urgent care facilities are unique and constantly changing environments for employees. Healthcare professionals at these facilities never work with the same patients and always have new tasks to accomplish daily. Additionally, they are always on the move, working in a fast-paced environment nearly as hectic as an emergency room because patients have timely needs. However, these conditions are typically less life-threatening than those in emergency rooms or hospitals.

Urgent care patients fill out paperwork with the help of a service representative before entering an examination room. A provider, often a family nurse practitioner (FNP), examines them.

A common goal of urgent care visits is for the provider and patient to arrive at a treatment solution, either a prescription medication, over-the-counter medication or further testing via bloodwork or imaging. Providers can often process factors such as lab work onsite to get the results faster than in a standard clinic.

In more ways than one, urgent care facilities contain all the necessary tools to help patients. The education of the healthcare professionals at these facilities prepares them to adapt to the busyness of their environment and rise to the occasion.

Why Urgent Care Is Important

With the Affordable Care Act, more people gained access to healthcare, and more people who may not have sought help previously or defaulted to the ER for minor emergencies have another option for care.

Nursing Times addresses this greater access, mentioning that “urgent care expansion … manages the demand for crowded emergency departments.” This expansion allows healthcare professionals to “increase the timeliness of treatment or offer more convenient, less burdensome options for patients.”

Urgent care facilities are especially valuable in times of great need. For example, many healthcare providers in hospitals and emergency rooms saw an overwhelming demand for services and help during the pandemic. Unfortunately, they could not help everyone because of a lack of resources, so patients started going to urgent care for treatment. Many urgent care locations also stepped up during the pandemic to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

With patients switching to urgent care facilities for treatment during the pandemic, FNPs and other providers still witness an increase in on-demand care, which will likely continue for the foreseeable future. For many, urgent care clinics can give patients the same care previously received in a physician’s office. Plus, with urgent care facilities, patients no longer need to wait to make an appointment with their primary care provider or go to the emergency room to receive the help they need.

In an interview with Healthcare IT News, Dr. David Stern states that “to navigate a changing landscape and meet evolving patient demands, urgent cares are relying on flexible, adaptable operating systems to function optimally, expedite their workflows, and bolster revenue cycle management (RCM) more than they ever have before.”

Become an Urgent Care Family Nurse Practitioner With an MSN Degree

Urgent care might be the perfect work environment for you if you enjoy healthcare’s fast-paced culture. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree can help further your career and improve patient outcomes in an urgent care environment. Those who enroll in The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) online RN to MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program will implement evidence-based care in various settings, emphasizing health promotion and primary care management.

This program allows all students to effectively prepare to lead urgent care facilities in the future. For example, the Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning course covers the basics of determining the prognosis or condition of a patient — to help find an immediate solution. In the FNP I-III courses, students examine the different health problems afflicting individuals throughout their lifespans.

Ultimately, students will develop their research, diagnostic and clinical skills to provide treatments and resources to diverse groups of patients. Students can complete this accelerated program in as few as 42 months.

Each future FNP will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential roles in prestigious facilities such as primary care/ambulatory clinics, urgent care clinics and health department family care clinics.

Learn more about UTA’s online RN to MSN – FNP program.

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