The emergency room is a critical place to go when you're ill. Approximately 5,000 emergency rooms provide 24/7 care. Unfortunately, the majority of emergency rooms are overcrowded. That's a major problem. However, there are some ways to alleviate the pressure. One simple way is to reduce the number of emergency room visits. Many hospitals close emergency rooms to make room for specialty care. This trend is largely due to the fact that emergency rooms are often more expensive than specialty hospitals. However, there are many reasons why emergency rooms are still an important part of a hospital. First, emergency rooms have been the primary site of customer feedback since 1955. The New England Journal of Medicine reported in 1955 that annual emergency room volumes increased from 3,000 to 18,000 patients. Even in communities with a relatively stable population, ER visits increased by nearly four times. In addition to physicians, emergency rooms have nurse practitioners and physician assistants who can help patients with emergency conditions. They also have access to advanced imaging and laboratory resources. A nurse practitioner in a hospital's emergency department has advanced training in emergency medicine. As a nurse practitioner, you can expect to work closely with a nurse in an emergency department. A recent study from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that nearly half of emergency room visits are not related to an emergency. People who aren't very sick usually visit the ER because their doctor's office has closed. In addition, many people use an emergency room for a minor injury or illness.