University Health Center, Urgent Care or Hospital?

When you need care, it can be confusing to know if you should visit the University Health Center, an urgent care facility in the community or a local hospital. Keep reading to learn the differences between these facilities and when to go where.

Know Where to Go for Health Care

What is the University Health Center?

The health center is a health care facility designed specifically for UNL students. We are your primary resource for non-emergency situations. You can visit us for illnesses, minor injuries, pain, care for an ongoing concern and preventive care, such as an annual physical, gynecological exam. We also have a dental clinic, pharmacy and certain specialty services.

By visiting the health center, you can establish a relationship with a health care provider who knows your health history, what medications you take, what chronic conditions you may have or be at risk of developing and more. Plus, we are the most affordable option for students, especially those enrolled in the university’s student insurance plan.

What is an Urgent/Immediate Care Facility?

An urgent care or immediate care facility is where to go when the health center is closed or if you need care urgently and cannot get an appointment as quickly as you would like at the health center. Typically, you will be seen within a few hours of walking in. These facilities are staffed by nurse practitioners, physician assistants and doctors who can treat simple conditions like cold, flu, allergies, ear infections, skin conditions, unexplained pain, etc.

The downside to visiting one of these facilities is that these providers don’t know you personally or understand your health history. They are a quick fix for an urgent concern, and all followups must be completed with your primary care provider. There is a larger out-of-pocket cost for visiting an urgent care or immediate care facility over the health center, especially if you are enrolled in the university’s student insurance plan.

What is a Hospital?

Hospitals have emergency rooms designed to treat immediate, life-threatening conditions that go beyond what a typical doctor can treat. If you are in a health emergency, you can call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

Hospitals are the most expensive option and can cost thousands of dollars depending on the treatment you need. This is essential for emergencies, but can cost you unnecessary money if you visit for a concern that is not a true emergency.

Where to Go for a Health Care Concern

Where to go for health care
If you experience...University Health CenterUrgent Care ClinicHospital Emergency Room
Minor headaches X
Bumps, cuts, scrapes X
Flu vaccination X
Low grade fever X
Non-urgent psychiatric illness X
X-rays X X
Mild asthma X X
Sprains and strains X X
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea X X
Burning with urination X X
Coughs and sore throat X X
Ear or sinus pain X X
Minor allergic reactions X X
Rashes, minor burns X X
Back pain X X
Animal bites X X
Stitches X X
Chest pain X
Severe difficulty breathing or shortness of breath X
Severe abdominal or pelvic pain X
Deep cuts, stab wound, gunshot wound X
Fractures or broken bones X
Loss of consciousness X

Please note: additional charges may apply per plan description; emergency room is covered only if a true emergency. Cost is generally least expensive at the health center or a doctor's office, moderately expensive at an urgent care clinic and most expensive at a hospital.