Urgent care: A growing healthcare landscape

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The early 1980s witnessed the growth and expansion of urgent care as a permanent key player in the American healthcare system. To date, more than 7,000 urgent care centers in the United States provide care for more than 160 million patients a year.1 In practice, no set or minimal standards have been established, either at federal or state levels, for the scope of services provided.
Nurses beginning a career in urgent care will experience a lively, dynamic, and fast-paced care environment. RNs call upon their critical thinking skills and experience to assess patients in every age group and with a great range of health disorders. Multitasking, focusing on detail, and meticulous record-keeping skills are needed for urgent care RNs to deliver the quality of care and efficiency demanded.
This article explores the events, issues, and trends that guided this new model of care into its niche and discusses how nurses fit into this particular healthcare landscape.
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