It’s 7:30 on Friday night. 9-year-old Jimmy just broke a glass, severely cutting his hand. Blood is flowing.
The University Medical Center at Princeton has moved to its new quarters across Route One to Plainsboro. Fortunately, Saint Peter’s Urgent Care Center is open and available to patients without appointments. Located in the Village Shopper III, 1378 Route 206 in Skillman, it is accessible to adults and children of all ages, and treats a wide spectrum of conditions.
You bundle Jimmy, now panicking, into the car, and hurry over to Saint Peter’s — just a 15-minute drive, where a staff, including doctors, LPNs, lab and X-ray technicians, are all on-site.
A clinical assistant is waiting at the front desk, and directs you to an examination
room. A nurse or doctor comes in within minutes to examine the wound and determine the best treatment. In this case, a tetanus shot and stitches, after the wound is cleaned, are required.
Filling A Need
Other situations may require X-rays, strep and flu cultures, or blood sugar evaluations, all of which can be performed on-site.
Opened in January, Saint Peter’s Urgent Care Center is filling a need. With the departure of the University Medical Center at Princeton, many Princeton and area residents will be relieved to know that an urgent care facility is nearby.
“We’re unique in that we are staffed with emergency care doctors, nurses, certified lab and radiology technicians, and lab services are on-site,” explains Heather A. Veltre, director of emergency services at Saint Peter’s. “This is Saint Peter’s first urgent care center. We are the mother ship!’
“This is a different service. We don’t have the pressure of the ER in a hospital. This is very community-based and it’s nice to be able to service the community in this way.”
The center has already seen numerous patients in the short time it has been open. From poison ivy to pains and palpitations, rashes to wrist injuries, asthma attacks to ankle sprains, bruises and bleeding, fevers and flu, and coughs, colds, and cuts, a variety of conditions have been treated.
“We have seen patients with sports injuries, including knee, ankle, and wrist sprains, lacerations, upper respiratory problems, strep throat, abdominal pain, diabetes, asthma attacks (breathing treatments are immediately available), and more, such as injuries from car accidents,” reports facility manager Maria Bello.
“If people have severe symptoms, including stroke or heart attack, that require hospitalization, we call 911, and they are transported to the hospital of their choice. If it’s a crisis situation, the EMTs are required to take the patient to the nearest hospital.”
“The local first aid squad has been very supportive. They have a very quick response, and are a great collaborator,” adds Ms. Veltre. “In addition, we always support the primary care physician. When a patient comes here, after they are treated, we refer them back to their physician.
“Saint Peter’s was one of several places approached by the mayor of Skillman to consider opening an urgent care center,” she continues. “When we were contacted, the Saint Peter’s Healthcare System was dedicated to making it happen. We wanted to do community outreach, and we wanted to be the best resource for the people in the community for their urgent care needs.
“We are also very committed to educating the community about health care. We have set up free monthly education sessions on-site. We have had one on skin safety, and on June 21, we will offer another on pediatric asthma. We look forward to being able to provide even more education to the community and support them in whatever healthcare needs they have. That can include specialty health services, such as good nutrition, a heart-healthy life, warning signs for stroke, and summer emergencies.”
Professional Yet Friendly
The facility offers a spacious setting with a professional yet friendly atmosphere. Three examining rooms, nurses’ station, radiology area, community education room, and waiting room area, featuring refreshments, including bottled water, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, are in a convenient setting.
“One examination room is directed toward geriatric patients,” points out Ms. Veltre. “It has a special geriatric chair, which can be raised, lowered, and heated. The geriatric-friendly room also has an automated table that can be raised or lowered to a comfortable height. The whole idea is to make the experience easier for older people.”
Ms. Veltre is very pleased with the response to the center. “People are definitely finding us, and our best experience is patient satisfaction and referral. We are growing all the time and have seen patients from the area, including Princeton, Skillman, East Brunswick, and even New York, when someone was visiting here. We are happy that everything has gone very smoothly and according to plan. Also, the nearby businesses have been very supportive.”
“I went to Saint Peter’s Urgent Care Center on a Saturday recently when a piece of metal was stuck in my finger,” says a Princeton resident. “The staff couldn’t have been nicer and more professional. They saw me right away. The nurse examined my finger, a technician took an X-ray, and then the doctor determined the severity of the problem. I had a tetanus shot, and he then directed me to see a hand specialist, because of the location of the metal near tendons and ligaments. The entire experience was very positive. Everything was very thorough, and I was able to be in and out within a half-hour.”
Mild To Serious
“We are very proud of our staff,” emphasizes Ms. Veltre. “Maria does a wonderful job, and we have a full staff. They are cross-trained and very hard-working. The center has seen up to 26 patients in one day, and of course, this varies. The situation can be mild to serious. On a recent Friday, a patient with severe chest pains was transported to the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.”
Ms. Veltre also notes that “It’s only a 26-minute drive from Princeton to Saint Peter’s hospital, right in New Brunswick. This is another option. We are looking forward to a newly constructed pediatric and adult ER at Saint Peter’s Hospital to be started in July.”
Saint Peter’s Urgent Care Center is an important new addition to the area. It takes most insurance plans, and is open 365 days a year. It is certainly reassuring to know that if one is faced with a sudden medical emergency, a nearby facility is available.
“This is what we are trained to do, and we are ready at all times to help the community,” says Ms. Veltre.
Current hours, which are still being evaluated, are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sunday, and holidays 10 to 6. Patients may also make an appointment.
(609) 497-4597. Website: saintpetershcs.com\urgentcare.