Patient Stories

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Urgent Care vs. Emergency Care

Conditions that can be treated at an urgent care center:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bruises
  • Cold or flu
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Cuts and scratches
  • Ear and eye infections
  • Headaches
  • Minor burns
  • Minor fractures
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Rashes or minor swelling
  • Sore throat and sinus pain
  • Sprains and other muscle and joint strains

Medical emergencies include:

  • Active bleeding
  • Active labor
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Urgent Care centers are not equipped to handle medical emergencies.

If you are experiencing a life-threatening condition, call 911 or go to the Emergency Department at NSMC Salem Hospital.

Urgent Care options for NSMC Patients

North Shore Urgent Care, located at the Mass General/North Shore Center for Outpatient Care in Danvers, offers adults, children and infants immediate and convenient care for conditions that need attention but are not life-threatening.

North Shore Urgent Care is a service of North Shore Physicians Group (NSPG), NSMC’s multi-site primary and specialty care physician network.

  • Patients do not need to have an NSMC or NSPG physician to use the center
  • Open 7 days a week; walk-ins welcome (no appointment needed)

Family Doctors, LLC also has urgent care services for their patients, as do the family health centers in Salem, Lynn and Peabody.  Get location and other info about Family Doctors, LLC and family health centers' urgent care services

North Shore Urgent Care offers several advantages over commercial urgent care centers:

“When patients are treated in a commercial urgent care clinic (not connected to a physician network or hospital), there is a greater chance for fragmented communication among providers, which can make it difficult for primary care physicians to accurately manage a patient’s health,” says Medical Director Anne Chung, MD.

North Shore Urgent Care is staffed by physicians trained in emergency or family medicine, along with experienced physician assistants and nurse practitioners. They keep NSPG and NSMC primary care physicians abreast of patient visits through the hospital’s shared electronic medical records system. For patients with a primary care physician outside of NSMC, a complete record of care can be sent to their physician after each visit. Patients without a primary care physician can be connected with one in the NSPG network.


If a patient requires more complex care, staff can quickly and easily arrange a transfer to the emergency department at NSMC Salem Hospital or NSMC Union Hospital, or coordinate follow-up care with a specialist at NSMC, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital or another physician in the Partners HealthCare network. 

Patient-centered design

Another benefit of the new center is its patient-centered design, aimed at improving efficiency and reducing wait times. When patients check in, they are taken directly to an exam room, where most treatment can be delivered. A carefully coordinated flow model keeps clinical activities moving efficiently behind the scenes.

“We wanted a design that created a seamless environment for both patients and caregivers,” says Harriet Sanclemente, R.N., Program Manager, North Shore Urgent Care, who was part of a planning committee for the center. Effective communication is also a top priority for North Shore Urgent Care.

“Based on the strong positive reaction we received to the pilot program, we know that we are meeting a demonstrated need for easy access to urgent care,” says NSPG President Steven Kapfhammer. “We are happy to extend this important resource to families throughout the North Shore.”

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