19 Aug: Tuesday - What happens in an ER?

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What happens in an ER?

When I heard the question, my first thoughts were of my visits to emergency room. My version has been slightly different than most in the class since I am in the military. My last trip to the ER consisted of a tent on a small military base in the desert. However, the basic processing was similar to ER at any major hospital. Patients are first received and triaged by a medic. If the injury or illness is life threatening then the patient is immediately admitted. If not, the patient is placed in a waiting area and begins filling out administrative and medical documents or information. When admitted, nurses or medics take vitals, evaluate, and prepare the patient for a doctor or physician assistant. The patient then receives higher level medical treatment with a follow up from a medic and is then discharged. At least, that was my perspective! I think the biggest lesson I learned in our first class is that no ER visit is exactly the same. There are many variables that affect the process of patient care in the ER. In addition, I learned that patients, nurses, doctors, and administrative staff all have very different perspectives and roles in the ER. I think the biggest challenge I will have in this class as a Systems Engineer is designing an ER that maximizes the efficiency of every participant.