emergency department visit - what to expect

A trip to the Emergency Department can be a stressful, scary experience, especially for a child. The compassionate care given at Bon Secours can help ease those fears. 

We hope that the following information will provide you with what you need to know about what to expect if your child needs to visit a Bon Secours Emergency Department.

The People

While your child is in the Emergency Department, he or she might see:
Attending physician: the physician who will be in charge of your child's care.
Resident physician: a physician with a medical license who is undergoing more training.
Nurse Practitioner: a registered nurse with advanced training who is licensed to practice medicine while being supervised by a physician.
Physician Assistant: a certified healthcare professional who is supervised by an attending physician.
Intern: a medical school graduate who is receiving the additional training necessary for a medical license.
Primary nurse: the nurse who cares for your child throughout treatment in the Emergency Department.
Emergency Department technicians: healthcare professionals who assist the doctors and nurses. They are trained to draw blood and take electrocardiograms (records of the heart's activity).
Imaging technologists: specialists responsible for transporting patients to the Radiology Department, performing diagnostic imaging tests, and then bringing patients back to the Emergency Department.

The Process

Triage. The first person your child will see is the triage nurse. The triage nurse assesses the condition of patients, and prioritizes them based on how urgently they need medical care. Critically ill patients always receive higher priority, regardless of who has been waiting longer. But don't worry: At Bon Secours, we have a goal to see each patient within 30 minutes or less. However, if you think your child is getting sicker while you're waiting, please tell a nurse immediately.

Registration. While you are waiting, you will be asked to provide basic information about your child and verify your insurance information.

Treatment. Once you and your child are taken to a treatment room, a nurse will take your child's medical history and answer any questions you might have. After that, a physician will examine your child, order any tests that are necessary to diagnose your child's condition, and then determine a treatment plan. The physician may give your child medication to make him or her more comfortable during the examination. This may include medicine given intravenously (through a needle inserted into a vein). Or medications may be stopped until a diagnosis is made so symptoms are not hidden. The physician will discuss your child's treatment plan with you. If your child needs to be admitted to the hospital, the physician will discuss those details with you as well.

Hospital Admission. If your child is admitted, he or she will go to one of the following areas within the hospital:
Pediatric Unit
Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Going Home

Once treatment is complete and your child is ready to go home, the 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. Your nurse will give you written directions on how to care for your child when you get home and what follow-up treatment he or she may need. The attending physician will sign papers so you can leave. We will forward information about your child's trip to the Emergency Department to his or her primary care physician. Our social worker can help arrange any special services your child 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.

We know that having a child receive emergency care can be tough on parents and other family members as well. That's why we offer services for families, too, such as free parking and counseling services. At Bon Secours, our goal is to make your child well with as little stress as possible for your child — and you.

For more information about Emergency Care, click the links below:
Pediatric Specialty Care
Critical Care Transport
Pediatric Emergency Medicine
Forensic Nursing

Our Emergency Department Guarantee:
Bon Secours Richmond guarantees that each person will be seen or have their treatment started in 30 minutes or less.

Hospital Emergency Department phone numbers:
St. Mary’s Hospital

St. Francis Medical Center

Memorial Regional Medical Center

Richmond Community Hospital

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