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The Nurse Line


(I have no photo that’s appropriate for a post about a nurse line, so here’s a photo of some trees.)

I’m going to talk about something other than cabinets today (whaaaa?) Ready?

Though I haven’t actually needed to use the hospitals in our area very much (always a lovely thing), the service I’ve used the most over the years is the nurse line.

Basically, it’s a free service that allows you to call and talk to a nurse if you’ve got a health-related question and it’s available 24 hours a day (something like this one offered by Blue Cross).

The nurse line has saved me so much money in pediatric visit/urgent care costs over the last 14 years because after I share my kids’ symptoms, they can tell me if it sounds like something that should be seen or not, thus keeping me from making unnecessary trips to the doctor.

And if it’s not something that needs immediate attention, they give me a list of symptoms to look for that would signal the necessity of a doctor visit.

Mind you, I’m not at all opposed to spending the money for a pediatric visit if it’s necessary, but I really prefer not to do so if the problem is something that should just be treated at home or waited out.

Of course, if one of my kids has a problem that pops up during the day, the nurses at my pediatrician’s office are available for calls, but the nurse line is really fabulous for issues that turn up during non-business hours and on weekends.

If you’ve got a hospital nearby, check and see if they have a nurse line, and if they don’t, call or search on the internet to see if your health insurance provider offers one.

Oh, and nurse lines are sometimes helpful for adults too, so even if you haven’t got kids, the nurse line might still be able to help you to make more informed decisions about doctor visit.

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Laura Vanderkam

Monday 12th of August 2013

We wind up bugging some people with medical credentials in the extended family a lot for precisely this reason. It's probably saved us from several ER visits.


Sunday 11th of August 2013

hi kristen. here in sweden we also have a nurse line,only call 1177,and there will be a nure answering! have used it several times!

Meredith Phillips

Saturday 10th of August 2013

I don't have kids, but I've used a nurse line for myself. A couple years ago, my jaw wouldn't close all the way and I was freaking out!! The nurse I talked to was so helpful and helped calm me down a bit. In the end, it was probably TMJ. Anytime I look up stuff online it seems like it always goes to the worst possible thing. Totally recommend these lines as well!

David G. McKenna

Saturday 10th of August 2013

Flickr is great if you can find a photo by the way. Some photos are posted there with the author granting permission for reuse. Many photographers there will gladly let you use a photo for a personal blog if you email them.


Saturday 10th of August 2013

The nurse line is great. I'm always recommending it to my co-workers, who almost never follow through with my suggestion. It's a great way to figure out if you really need to go to the doctor. But running off to the doctor isn't my first response most of the time anyway.

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