Anyway. Nothing to shake the rust off quite like getting really angry about stuff, so here goes.
I was just hanging out, chipping vinyl siding off of old furniture and listening to Pandora radio at 3 AM like any normal person when an add came on for my old hospital. Advertising their super awesome sparkly unicorn new and improved online check-in system, where you can check in on their website and make an appointment in the ER so you can wait at home and get seen faster for your "emergency". UM. Let me just stop you right there.
The hospital in question is, in fact, a real ER, like that actually takes care of dying patients, and not a free-standing "ER" that should allow for checking in online for your tummy ache/UTI/stubbed toe/prescription refill/minor discomfort that you absolutely can't tolerate long enough to see your doctor because you can't deal with any form of pain or distress. Those of us that work at these places understand the distinction. The general public does not. I WONDER WHY.
To put it kindly, whoever is coming up with these marketing campaigns deserves to have the shit beat out of them with a pillowcase full of soap, prison style. I'm sorry. I just refuse to believe that things like this benefit any legit hospital. Free standing boutique "emergency rooms" are now a thing, like it or not- they're glorified urgent care centers that hopefully hire people qualified to take care of your outpatient emergent needs, who will subsequently charge you and your insurance company all the dollar bills for your treatment and even more dollar bills if you need to get transferred to a legitimate hospital to continue your treatment inpatient. I know this, because I worked at one as a second job for a bit. I'm of the opinion that these places don't really have any business calling themselves emergency rooms if they don't have the means to provide inpatient care, but I could write a whole other post about how sketchy these places are just by their nature.
The point is, despite what they call it, they are urgent care. We are the ER. We have absolutely NO BUSINESS acting like an urgent care center. We have no business trying to compete with apples when we're MF-ing oranges. Most of the well-to-do folks who you might be able to trick into patronizing your legit ER for their urgent care needs might, in the best case scenario, catch you on a slow day and be impressed with you. Worst case scenario, they'll get there, realize that they're in an actual emergency room where people who aren't legitimately ill have to- OMGZ God forbid- wait- and they'll get epically butthurt and send you a Press Ganey nastygram or complain directly to the hospital bigwigs, who will in turn crap all over you for providing a subpar patient experience.
What I'd like to say to said bigwigs, but am yet unable to until that Nigerian prince follows through on his promise to send me great riches, is HELL NAW. You can't have it both ways, bitches. You can't go to conferences and brag about how you work for the big name hospital with a super amazing A-number-one trauma/stroke/STEMI program, and then expect the same doctors and nurses tasked giving the absolute best emergency care and saving lives to give more than .000001 fucks about how long the person with private pay insurance and an Audi has been waiting to be seen for their hangnail. NO. If you want people getting seen for their trifling complaints to be happy, either build a free-standing fake ER across the street and send the sick people that might stumble in exclusively to your affiliated real hospital, or stop setting unrealistic expectations and then blaming your staff when people are disappointed.
I don't want to come across like I have a problem treating minor complaints, or that I think I'm above handing out band-aids and Z packs. It takes all kinds to make the ER world go 'round. BUT- by nature of the ER world, those patient may end up waiting for quite a while. It's doing them quite a disservice to teach them to expect otherwise.