In this article, we're going to jump on the topic of urgent care. The words urgent care definitely brings to mind a sense of emergency, but our healthcare system already has emergency departments (also referred to as emergency rooms) in hospitals across the country. Urgent care is not yet another name for an emergency department; it is, in fact, a completely separate unit or department for healthcare delivery. Keep reading, and we'll expand on what urgent care is, what the setting is like (how is it similar or different to an emergency department?), what urgent care RN jobs are like, how much urgent care jobs may earn, and how you can find urgent care jobs near you.
What is Urgent Care?
As previously stated, urgent care is not the same as emergency care. Healthcare.gov defines urgent care as: "Care for an illness, injury or condition serious enough that a reasonable person would seek care right away, but not so severe it requires emergency room care."
Among healthcare professionals, it is commonly known that emergency rooms can be crowded and overwhelmed, making it difficult for people who desperately need medical services to receive attention. Urgent care centers work to divert some of the patient flow from emergency departments by treating less severe cases. These clinics have been so successful in meeting community needs that pediatric urgent care centers have begun to crop up as well.
The American College of Emergency Physicians identifies an urgent care clinic to be "a walk-in clinic focused on the delivery of medical care for minor illnesses and injuries in an ambulatory medical facility outside of a traditional hospital-based or freestanding emergency department (ED). Other names for similar types of facilities include but are not limited to after-hours walk-in clinics, minute clinics, quick care clinics, minor emergency centers, and minor care clinics."
Many urgent care centers are open seven days a week, but less often are urgent care centers open all 24 hours a day. With the expanding incorporation of telehealth into healthcare delivery services, urgent care centers have begun to offer online consultations. Many of these virtual services offer 24-hour urgent care.
What Jobs are there in Urgent Care for RNs?
Urgent care registered nurses (RN) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) will likely find that their work experiences vary from day to day. Because an urgent care clinic receives patients without planned appointments, there is an unpredictable quality to the setting, similar to that of an emergency department.
Nurses in urgent care triage patients upon intake, conduct assessments to determine patient acuity, and act as liaisons between patients and physicians. Nurse tasks in an urgent care setting may include the following:
- Information gathering
- Blood draws
- IV insertion
- Administer medication
- Wound care
- Patient Education
- Assessments for treatments
- Physical assessments
Since some urgent care centers are turning to virtual consultations to offer services 24 hours a day, nurses may find jobs available in telehealth. Urgent care center staff typically include nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants.
How Much Do Urgent Care RNs Make?
The average RN hourly rate for an urgent care position is $33, although keep in mind that's a national statistic, and the actual hourly rate ranges up to $46 per hour. Nurses with experience and additional certifications may earn more in the urgent care setting as well.
Can I Get a Job at an Urgent Care Near Me?
You can search for jobs near you by using Nursa. Nursa is a healthcare marketplace app that works to connect nursing professionals to jobs on a shift-by-shift basis. When you download Nursa, you can follow the prompts to create your own professional profile where you can share your work experience and certifications, verify your nursing license or nursing assistant certification, and then browse urgent care jobs near you by adjusting your search filters. Apply for shifts at urgent care centers near you and start gaining experience and earning money quickly.
Do I Need a Specialty Certification to be an Urgent Care Nurse?
Nurses with experience working in emergency departments or with specific certifications may find themselves to be more competitive in landing urgent care nursing jobs. Some certifications that urgent care centers may look for when hiring are:
- Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (AMB-BC™)
- Certified Emergency Nurse
- Trauma Certified Registered Nurse
These courses managed by the Emergency Nurses Association may also be of help: