What shocked me most about my ER visit is that I was seen immediately. After years of writing about ER wait time apps I'd assumed I would have at least 30 minutes of anxious downtime before seeing a doctor, but I was in a room and being examined within 10 minutes. Huge points there.
Unfortunately, the wait time began accumulating as I was bounced among residents, attendings, med students, X-ray techs, consulting surgeons, and nurses. I didn't feel there was one person at the helm of my care. The one redeeming factor was the nurse who stopped in after a particularly long wait period and asked if she could get me a glass of water and some magazines. It's little touches like this that can make a big difference.
Obviously there were many more emergent cases than mine that night, but I learned that the patient—especially in the emergency room—can feel as though they have little control over their care. Having one consistent caregiver, whether it be a doctor or medical assistant, would have put me more at ease.