Going to the Hospital in China

October 10, 2019

It might still look like summer outside, but fall and winter are creeping steadily nearer.
With the change in weather comes… COLD AND FLU SEASON.
We hope you all stay healthy, but just in case, you should probably know how to take yourself to a hospital in China.

What You'll Need

Payment method

What to Do

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 1

Go to the outpatient department (门诊部 ménzhěn bù). Obviously, if it is an emergency, go to the emergency room (急诊部 jízhěn bù). Note that the steps below are for the outpatient department and may differ if you go to the emergency room.

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 2

Register (挂号 guàhào). Here you'll need to pay a registration fee, which varies by department and hospital.

Tell the nurse what is wrong, and you will be instructed on where to go and which doctor to see. You will also receive a ticket with your patient number on it.

You will likely receive a booklet or card for your medical records as well. If you don't get one, ask. The doctor(s) will need it later.

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 3

Go to the area you were directed to in Step 2 and wait for your number to be called. There is usually a screen with the upcoming patient numbers visible somewhere on the ward.

If you don't see a screen or don't know where to go, ask one of the staff. They are usually friendly and willing to help a lost laowai

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 4

When your number is called, go see the doctor.You should keep in mind that in some hospitals the treatment room doubles as the waiting room, so privacy may be hard to come by.The doctor will examine you and then tell you what the next step is (treatment, further checkups, medicine, etc.) and where to go.

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 5

Go back down to the place where you registered. Here you will pay for your medicine (or whatever the doctor recommended).The nurse will give you another ticket and a receipt for payment.

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 6

If you need further treatment or tests, go where the doctor instructed. You may need to go for multiple tests, such as bloodwork, X-rays, or whatever else the doctor may have ordered.

If you were prescribed medicine, go to the pharmacy, which is usually located close to the registration desk.

Note that hospital pharmacies often have separate counters for dispensing Western and Chinese medicine. It is common for doctors to prescribe both Western and Chinese medicines, so bear this in mind as you queue for the pharmacy.

Going to the Hospital in China:
Step 7

Go home. Follow the doctor's orders and take good care of yourself!If you speak Chinese, you can go to any hospital in China that is convenient for you and that you are comfortable going to.

For those of you in Beijing who would prefer to be treated in English, many larger hospitals have a “foreign clinic”, with English speaking staff.


However, navigating the hospital may still be difficult. You may want to bring a Chinese-speaking friend with you.

Words to Know

outpatient department

internal medicine


我的 ______ 疼。
Wǒ de ______ téng.
My _____ hurts.

emergency department

(to have) a fever

to take an X-ray

to have a blood test


qǔ yào
to get medicine

Western medicine

Chinese medicine

We hope you found this information useful, but we hope even more that you don't need it. Stay healthy, friends!


Want to be extra-prepared? Make sure you know the Emergency Numbers in China.

Sign up for Chinese classes by scanning the QR code below
or sending us an email at contact@cultureyard.net

Want more Chinese culture or Culture Yard news?
Scan the QR code below to follow our official WeChat account!