New Ulm Medical Center
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Walk-in Clinic makes care easier for working people and families
When a minor illness or injury develops, and an expensive trip to the emergency room isn’t required, the convenience of an all-purpose walk-in clinic can be just what patients need, especially if their own doctors are booked with appointments.
But for working people and school-age children, a traditional Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. clinic isn’t always convenient. To better provide for the community, the New Ulm Medical Center opened an evening walk-in clinic one year ago. The response has overwhelmingly positive, said Brenda Nielsen, manager of clinical services.
“Starting in the spring months we’d see 10 to 20 patients each evening, which is about what we expected,” Nielsen said. “In the winter, it was very busy. We had some respiratory infections going around and the clinic was very helpful. People were sick, but they didn’t want to miss working hours to come in.”
The evening walk-in clinic concept emerged from the widely used Saturday walk-in clinic, which started about four years ago. Nielsen said the hope was always to offer more hours and more days, and in 2012 there will continue to be a review of clinical services offered to the New Ulm community. “We’ll look at what our numbers have been and see what needs we can address in the next year,” Nielsen said.
Working families have been among the most appreciative of the new walk-in clinic hours. Initially, the clinic would only see children six months old or older, but in an effort to help those with even younger children, the clinic lowered the age. “One of the things that has really been a benefit for a lot of people is seeing kids starting at two months of age,” Nielsen said. “There was quite a demand for that age-group of patients. We did some research, talked with our physicians and decided to make a change. Day-cares have very specific requirements about whether they’ll let children attend if they have fevers or other problems.”
Currently, the evening walk-in clinic is open from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The Saturday clinic continues to run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The team of healthcare providers at any one time includes two providers, such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant and a physician, as well as two nurses and a receptionist.
Nielsen added that appointment times tend to be short, as most patients come in for concerns such as sore throats, earaches, urinary tract infections, simple cuts, and seemingly minor, but urgent care needs. Patients are screened immediately upon entering the clinic, and if it’s determined they need emergency care, the emergency room is just down the hall.
“It’s nice to see we’ve made a difference for the people here,” Nielsen said.
The clinic is located at 1324 Fifth Street North, New Ulm. For more information, call 507-217-5011.