Wait times in the urgent care center can vary. Depending on the number of people waiting and the severity of sickness or illness, the wait can be as little as a few minutes or as long as a few hours. That said, most urgent care patients wait less than 15 minutes while the average emergency room patient waits over 2 hours.
Unpredictable Wait Times
The wait times at an urgent care can be unpredictable. This is because of the nature of the service being provided. When you come to an urgent care, it is because you're dealing with a illness or injury. Everyone else that is there is dealing with something similar, however, the severity of each sickness or injury differs making some patient encounters longer than others and also forces the medical staff to triage patients based on their medical needs.
Usually Less Than an Hour
In general, when you come to an urgent care facility, your wait time is going to be less than an hour. In fact, 57 percent of urgent care patients experience a wait time less than 15 minutes. However, it's important to remember that this is an estimate. This will vary depending on how busy the facility is and what other patients come in just before or after you arrive. It's also important to reiterate that these facilities are not first come, first served. Urgent care facilities serve patients based on need. If someone comes in after you with a more serious problem, it is likely that they will be seen before you.
Wait After Being Called Back
After you have been called back into a room, you may experience more wait time. Again, this depends on what else is going on in the facility. This additional wait time is usually just a couple of minutes, but may be extended based on surrounding circumstances. If it is a busy day and more people with serious injuries come in after you have been called back, it is likely that your wait in the room will be long. This would be the same at any urgent care or even an emergency room. However, it is also just as likely that you'll see a doctor within a few minutes of your arrival.
Related Urgent Care FAQs
What are the Most Common Urgent Care Conditions?
What Services Do Urgent Care Centers Provide?
Can an Urgent Care Prescribe Medication?
Is Urgent Care a Substitute for Primary Care?
Will I See a Nurse Practitioner at an Urgent Care?
Do I Need an Appointment for an Urgent Care?
Are Urgent Care Locations Open 24 Hours A Day?
Are Urgent Cares Open on Weekends and Holidays?