The out-patient department (OPD) nurse sits on her revolving stool with wheels (heavy duty) as she waits for patients to come in. It’s relatively a slow day because the room is only half filled. Normally a public hospital with an OPD in some places would be filled to the brim. But the problem is the society and communities surrounding the hospital. They don’t really know what an OPD is and would rather go to the place they are familiar with, the Emergency Room.
What Happens in an OPD?
OPDs in public hospitals deal with patients that have minor symptoms or diseases that don’t require hospitalization. It can be a mild but annoying cough, mild stomach upset and more. There are departments that handle such cases from a general practitioner to OB, surgery and pediatric departments. These are supposedly in place to treat patients without clogging up the hospital wards. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. They immediately go to the ER to demand their own treatment and hospitalization. This has led to overcrowded emergency rooms which in turn is deadly for patients that do require emergency treatment.
You’ll find cases of a patient demanding to be treated for a moderate cough while another patient who is having a heart attack is being forced to wait. If only people know the functions of the different departments in a hospital, then things would be better.
Getting Treated in the OPD
#1 Information Taking
When you enter the OPD, you start first with your information being recorded. Most OPD will already have a database or record of your visits. You will get an OPD card with your vital information and records of your previous visits.
#2 Vital Signs Taking
Next, baseline vital signs will be obtained. The nurse will often use equipment such as a sphygmomanometer, an infrared ear thermometer (SURGITECH ET-101A), weighing scale and more. Other equipment will depend on your chief complaints.
#3 Wait Time
The wait time for OPD really depends on the number of patients. Some departments will have one or two doctors. However, the wait times are better as compared to the ER.
#4 Getting Treatment
Some of the common diseases and disorders that can be treated in an OPD are as follows.
- Cleaning of minor wounds (with some suturing)
- Clearing airways with a Portable Mesh nebulizer (CAREWELL)
- Treatment of hypertension with Oxygenation and/or medications
- Immobilization of sprains, minor fractures and dislocations
- And more.
#5 Getting Ready for Admission
If the doctors on duty in the OPD find enough reason for you to be hospitalized, you will be given a referral note. The note can then be used in the ER for your admission. It’s that easy to make use of the out-patient department to handle manageable diseases and disorders without clogging up the emergency room.
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