What to Expect in the ER

Make your trip to a UNC Health Johnston emergency room (ER) go as smoothly as possible. Learn what to expect from your visit.


After you come to the ER, a nurse will assess your condition and check your vital signs, including:

  • Blood pressure
  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Temperature

You may also receive lab or imaging tests to learn more about your illness or injury.

Time Spent in the ER

Doctors treat the sickest patients first. Your total time spent in the ER depends on:

  • Severity of your injury or illness
  • Tests you need
  • Specialists your care team consults
  • Your body’s response to medication you receive
  • Number of other patients waiting

Keep Us Updated

If your symptoms change or worsen during your wait for care, tell us so we can evaluate you again. Rest assured, ER nurses and doctors will help you get treatment as soon as possible.

Minor Conditions Care Program

If you come to the ER with a minor illness or injury, you may benefit from our minor care program. Minor care providers treat only people with less serious conditions, which means you’ll get care sooner. Find this service at UNC Health Johnston’s ER in:

  • Clayton from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Smithfield from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Urgent Care

You may also visit UNC Urgent Care at Clayton or another walk-in clinic for more affordable treatment of everyday health concerns. Learn when to choose urgent care vs. the ER.

Call 911

Call 911 right away during a medical emergency—a condition that threatens someone’s life or long-term health.

Prepare for an Emergency

Fill out a patient information sheet [PDF] with your health history. Put the completed form on your refrigerator so paramedics can bring it to the emergency department and help the medical team better care for you.

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