Arriving at the Emergency Center

What Happens When We Arrive in the Emergency Center?

A trip to the emergency center is almost always stressful. Knowing what to expect when you arrive here and being prepared can help reduce that stress - so we have prepared this guide to the Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital Emergency Center.

Check-in desk in the Emergency Center

A pediatric nurse will ask you the reason for your visit and examine your child. They may tell you not to give your child anything to eat or drink while waiting. Please follow these instructions.

Children with life-threatening illnesses are seen first. Other families are asked to wait. During certain hours of the day or if the Emergency Center is very busy, children with less serious problems may be sent to the QuickKid area of the Emergency Center.


First sign in at the triage desk. The purpose of triage is to quickly assess your child’s needs and to begin planning for their care. It is important to give all the needed information to the triage nurse.


Waiting Area

You will be asked to wait in the waiting room if an exam room is not available. There are toys, computer games and a TV available to make the time go faster.

A staff member will escort you to your room as soon as a room is available. If you believe your child has gotten sicker while waiting, please let the triage staff know.


Emergency Center Exam Room

Once you are in a private room your child will be examined and evaluated by a team of doctors and nurses who will care for your child. There are senior doctors, called Attending physicians, who are board certified Pediatric Emergency Medicine physicians. Our QuickKid physicians are Board certified pediatricians. We also have pediatric residents, who are doctors training to be pediatricians.

You will also meet techs, EMTs, respiratory therapists, unit secretaries. All these people help with the care of your child and have been specially trained to work with our pediatric patients.

Your child may need to have x-rays or blood tests. Please understand that you may have to wait for these results. During our busy times of the day, we may ask you to move to a waiting room to wait for your results. Additionally, the attending physician may need to consult with another specialist regarding your child's care. We will call that specialist, but please know that it takes time for these specialists to come to the Emergency Center. Our staff will try to make you and your child as comfortable as possible during your wait.


Our registration clerk will come to the room with her COW (computer on wheels) and ask you for the information needed for your child's medical record. They will have you sign a consent form for your child's treatment.

Insurance companies often require us to obtain approval for emergency center visits. If your child’s doctor has not already called in with an approval, the registration clerk will need to call. These calls take time. We ask for your patience.

We will treat your child even if your insurer does not approve the visit or you do not have insurance. If this a problem, our financial counselors can help you.

Your doctor may decide that your child needs to stay in the hospital. In this case, your child will stay in the Emergency Center until they are brought to a hospital room to be taken care of by a medical team or surgical team.

If Your Child is Discharged from the Emergency Center

When your Emergency Center visit is over, we will give you written instructions about your child’s home treatment, medications, and follow-up care. If you have any questions after you leave, please call the Emergency Center at 727-767-8400. We send a copy of the record of the visit to the primary care physician you told us about at registration. This record explains to the provider what was done for your child and what was recommended.

Clinical Decision Unit (CDU)

We have a Clinical Decision Unit in our Emergency Center. If it is important to observe or treat your child for more than a few hours in our Emergency Center, your child may be moved to our CDU. The EC Attending physicians will still be responsible for your care.