Do Urgent Care Centers Provide the Same Medical Care as Hospitals?

One of the great things about urgent care centers is that you don’t have to make an appointment ahead of time – and once you check-in, the waiting time is typically very short. People have unexpected injuries and illnesses, and there isn’t always time to make an appointment and wait days to be seen by a doctor. Urgent care solves that problem by providing high-level medical care without an appointment, and without all that waiting.

People often wonder, however, whether urgent care centers provide the same level of medical care as hospitals or other clinics. Have the doctors and nurses at urgent care centers been through the same rigorous training and residency as the doctors and nurses at other clinics and hospitals?

The answer is absolutely yes – your urgent care professionals have the same medical qualifications as their counterparts in other medical establishments. Many of the most reputable urgent care centers are staffed by experienced Medical Doctors (MDs), as well as fully qualified Registered Nurses (RNs), Nurse Practitioners (NPs), and Physicians Assistants (PAs). There are no shortcuts to any of these qualifications.

The whole conversation changes, of course, when you bring specialists into the picture. Most of us have (or know somehow who has) had the experience of seeing a specialist for various reasons. An hand, eye, or heart specialist is a great example. There are often medical situations that require the assessment and treatment of a dedicated specialist.

The providers that working within the urgent care have a wide professional skill set, and they’re able to diagnose and treat a wide spectrum of illnesses and injuries. If there is any need to visit a specialist, the medical staff at an urgent care center will recognize the situation and help you evaluate your options.

It bears repeating that urgent care is not the right choice for any situation that may be life threatening – in such cases, calling 911 or heading straight for the emergency department is the right choice. Also, if you’ve already been recommended to a specialist by an urgent care or other doctor, heading to another urgent care center for the same problem is probably not the most productive use of your time. Making an appointment with a specialist is a good idea – and if you need treatment in the meantime, you can always drop in to an urgent care center and ask about your options for alleviating symptoms until your appointment with a specialist.

Superior standards of medical care

Urgent care centers are carefully governed by the same organizations (such as the American Medical Association) that set standards for hospitals and clinics of all types. There are, of course, urgent care centers that score higher on popular review channels. The doctors and nurses might be exceptionally good with people and skilled in their practice. The administrative aspects of the clinic, and the overall atmosphere, can also be important to people. All in all, urgent care centers maintain exceptionally high standards of medical care – so you should be able to find one in your area that exceeds expectations.