@ernursek People shouldn't go the ER to "get checked" for ANYTHING. You go to the ER for emergencies. I know it's radical, but...— Not Nurse Ratched (@not_ratched) January 6, 2013
Apparently people are tired of patients coming in with a cold, which isn't an emergency to begin with, and saying things like "while I'm here, I might as well get the kids checked out." And then getting pissed when they have to wait 3 hours, which isn't even a long wait, all things considered.
The ER is not a primary care clinic. It costs like $1000 to come there for ANYTHING, and the people coming in to get "checked out" are not paying for that. Everyone else is. They can't get "checked out" at a doctor's office, because there you have to pay at least a copay usually.
So many things are infuriating about these situations. It is a truism that people who have Medicare or Medicaid and are therefore receiving "free" health care will be the least sick, the most entitled, and the most angry and complaining about having to wait.
It's enough to make a nurse bitter and cynical. I recently went above and beyond for a patient who, it turned out, had a history of milking the system for narcotics but had put on a good show. When he didn't get the narcotics, his parting words to me were "you fucking suck." Because that's how people talk when they come in to get "checked out" and walk out without what they want. Entitlement, folks. It gets so old, along with "I have had a cold for a week and I need to see a doctor RIGHT NOW, because it was convenient for me to come right now." Gah.
And it's our problem, because they will complain if we don't roll out a red carpet, and now reimbursement depends on putting up with totally healthy people throwing tantrums and telling us we suck.
UPDATE: My associate girlvet has helpfully provided a list of nonemergencies here.