Most doctors are affiliated with one or more hospitals where they can perform procedures on the patients they see in their offices. Hospitals offer a variety of services that mainly cover inpatient procedures that require overnight stays or outpatient operations that require anesthesia or use of expensive diagnostic and surgical equipment.
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Most hospitals provide emergency care for traumas and other serious conditions. Emergency room staffs are prepared to provide triage and stabilize patients until they can be moved to a room or treated and released.
Many hospitals provide maternity care. Rooms are available that are all-inclusive where mothers can give birth, nurse their babies and spend a day two recovering from the delivery. Other hospitals utilize operating rooms for deliveries and nurseries for the newborns. Newborn intensive care facilities are available at most hospitals for babies born prematurely or with other serious medical conditions. Maternity hospitals also prepare for emergency deliveries and those with complications that require special care.
Hospitals are the largest employers of nurses, who staff all sections in hospitals. Nurses carry out the orders provided by doctors and see to the daily needs of patients who are staying in rooms at the hospital. Nurses assist physicians in surgery and staff various services in hospitals 24 hours a day.
Hospitals stock and staff surgical suites that can be used for outpatient services or in-depth procedures, such as transplants, heart surgery and repairing broken bones. While many hospitals employ surgeons full-time on staff, others make their surgical services available to affiliated doctors. Surgical services include anesthesiology services, nursing care, pre- and post-operative rooms, and lab and x-ray technicians.
Hospitals provide pharmacy services that supply patients with medications as prescribed. In addition to providing inpatients with medicine, many hospital pharmacies can fill prescriptions for patients as they leave.
Various hospitals provide specialty services such as cardiology wards, cancer centers, pediatric services and rehabilitation units. Nurses and technicians who work in specialty units receive additional training to serve that population. Patients may receive ongoing treatment as outpatients through a hospital-run clinic as well as surgical and rehabilitation services in the same facility. Specialty units at hospitals typically provide social services in addition to medical treatments in the form of specialized referrals or in-house counselors.