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An urgent care nurse is a medical professional who works in an urgent care setting, which is usually a medical facility that is intended to cater to patients who need medical care immediately, but not necessarily in the emergency room. Like other types of nurses, an urgent care nurse needs to be trained in the field of medicine, usually through a post-secondary training program offered by a college or university, and they will work in conjunction with doctors and other medical professionals.
Urgent care clinics will hire an urgent care nurse, or more likely several nurses, to help patients with various illnesses and injuries, as well as paperwork and payment for services. Unlike a hospital, an urgent care clinic is usually not open 24 hours a day, and it may only be open on certain days of the week. This means an urgent care nurse is likely to work a set schedule, and night shifts will be limited if they exist at all. If a patient needs emergency care, the clinic will generally send that patient to an emergency room, even though the urgent care clinic will be prepared to handle some types of emergencies.
The specific duties of the urgent care nurse can vary significantly according to what clinic he or she works for, and what kind of training the nurse has undergone. Some nurses specialize in a particular type of medicine, such as pediatrics, while others take a broader focus. In an urgent care setting, the nurse may be responsible for many types of tasks, from drawing blood to filing paperwork, as the staff at the clinic is likely to be much smaller than that of a hospital where specialized employees will take care of various tasks.
Urgent care facilities differ from typical doctor's offices in that patients can get medical attention without making an appointment beforehand. This same kind of care can be had at an emergency room, but some illnesses do not warrant a trip to an emergency room. A person experiencing flu-like symptoms, for example, would not visit an emergency room, but he or she may not be able to get an appointment with a regular doctor's office. The urgent care facility is therefore the most appropriate channel for attention.