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Nurse Advice: immediate, accurate health help

By Cpl. Sarah Cherry | | October 3, 2014

Sometimes, it’s difficult to tell how sick a child is or how urgent an injury is.
The Tricare Nurse Advice line provides an opportunity to speak with a registered nurse for advice, questions or help finding a doctor. The NAL is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“If you have a medical issue and you’re not sure what to do, they can help you,” said Barbara Butcher, a registered nurse at the branch medical clinic aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. “It can save time for the patients and help them decide whether or not to seek care.”
If necessary, the nurse can help by setting up an appointment or referring callers to an emergency room.
“The NAL gives triage and nursing advice,” said Butcher. “It helps open the lines of communication, and can help get the patient in more quickly if need be.”
When nurses receive a call, they will assess the situation based on information provided by the caller. If the caller is not injured or ill and is calling on behalf of a dependent or other individual, the caller should have the individual present to assess.
If the individual is more than 13 years old, the nurse may ask to speak to them directly, according to the Tricare website.
Following a call, the nurse will give the patient’s medical home team information on the injury or illness as appropriate.
“It’s definitely followed-up on,” said Butcher. “Whether it’s something simple or something major, the medical team will be made aware of the issue.”
For more information call the Nurse Advice line at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273).
“It’s a valuable resource if people use it,” said Butcher.