Do you ever "call the Advice Nurse"?

@TheHorse (72398)
Walnut Creek, California
February 14, 2016 1:25pm CST
I went to a friends' house (a couple I've known for several years) last night for dinner. After dinner, we watched "Brooklyn" (warning: total "chick flick"). My female friend (a lawyer) had a sty in her eye, and it was causing her discomfort. I told her to call the Advice Nurse and see what she should do. Advice Nurse? She said she didn't know if her Insurer had Advice Nurses. I told that I doubted there were HMOs that didn't have Advice Nurses. Kaiser (my medical provider) has them. Even my clients on MediCal have them. She checked, found out I was right, and called the Advice Nurse. Warm compresses until the thing drains. OTC medication to alleviate discomfort. Visit a doctor if the swelling is too great or continues. Her hubby and I went to Walgreens and scored her some medication at 11 PM. We had fun bantering with the lady behind the counter. I found it incredible that a grown women who is lawyer did not know that she had access to an Advice Nurse. I've found them to be more informative, friendly, clear, and compassionate that most of the Doctors at Kaisier. Her experience was the same. Do you ever call the Advice Nurse? Are you aware that one is available to you? I'm curious about what those not in the US will have to say. Are there Advice Nurses in India, the UK, Australia, etc.?
29 people like this
30 responses
@boiboing (12881)
• Northampton, England
14 Feb 16
We have NHS direct. You can ring them about pretty much anything pretty much any time. But for something like a sty, I'd just ask a pharmacist.
5 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
True. I doubt a pharmacist was available that late at night, though. Interesting to learn that you have NHS Direct. It medicine in England more or less what we call "socialized"?
3 people like this
@Auntylou (4318)
• Oxford, England
14 Feb 16
@TheHorse Yes, the National Health service is paid for by our taxes and then free at the point of use. So we don't pay directly for doctor and hospital appointments or treatment. Medical care used to be private and most Brits are so glad it changed!
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
@Auntylou Of course, that's controversial here. Obamacare may or may not have been a good idea, but the way it was implemented was something of a disaster.
2 people like this
@celticeagle (119864)
• Boise, Idaho
14 Feb 16
We used to have such a line here at our local hospital. I called when my mother became sick with a weird lasting cold. I found out that what she was eating, thinking it was good for her, was not at all. We changed her diet and when that didn't seem to change anything we took her to the doctor and, in running some tests, found out she had cancer. The Nurse's line was helpful.
4 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
Glad the nurse line was helpful. Was your mom able to survive the cancer?
3 people like this
@celticeagle (119864)
• Boise, Idaho
14 Feb 16
@TheHorse ....No. They were able to remove all but 3% of the cancer and that is what killed her. She wouldn't go through Chemo.
4 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
@celticeagle Sorry to hear that. I've lost a few people to cancer.
4 people like this
@Hatley (164485)
• Garden Grove, California
14 Feb 16
hi @TheHorse I called mine just once but boy was she helpful I told her I needed some blood tests done but ran out of funds for the acess bus. She came to my room, took all the blood tests and sent them t myh doctor. That was super kind of her too
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
The HMOs probably "exploit" them to reduce the number of actual doctor visits. But boy have they been helpful to me as well! I'm glad your experience was good too.
2 people like this
@Hatley (164485)
• Garden Grove, California
14 Feb 16
@TheHorse i was realyl surprsed when she offered to do that and she did show up and took all the tests
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
@Hatley It's cool that there are still people out there who go above and beyond the call of duty.
2 people like this
@DianneN (85007)
• United States
14 Feb 16
I don't belong to Kaiser. If I have a minor thing, I stop in to CVS to see the medical team. Otherwise, I call my doctor. Insurance pays for everything, except a $15 co-pay.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
I have a co-pay as well. I think it's $30 right now. It may have been only $15 at my old job.
3 people like this
@DianneN (85007)
• United States
14 Feb 16
@TheHorse My son uses an insurance company that has a $30 co-pay. It is still reasonable considering the cost of any visit.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
@DianneN Exactly. I don't object at all.
2 people like this
• United States
15 Feb 16
I've never heard of an advice nurse. It's reassuring to know that one might be available though!
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
Do you have medical insurance through work? It's worth it to check. It's a free service for those of us with Kaiser.
3 people like this
• United States
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse I do have medical insurance. I'll have to check..
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
@missjessicadawn Cool. I hope the info winds up being helpful to you. I don't use the advice nurse much (I know what a cold feels like, etc.), but when I do, I'm glad that they tend to be kinder and more professional than the doctors themselves.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Feb 16
I never used an Advice Nurse before. I just research remedies online instead. I hate sty's!
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
Yeah, they're not usually "dangerous," but they're a pain. I just talked to my friend. Hers isn't better, so she's heading to Urgent Care this afternoon. I do a lot of research on-line too.
2 people like this
• United States
14 Feb 16
@TheHorse Oh no. I hope your friend feels better. Usually I can feel a sty coming and before I do - I put hot water pressure on my eyes along with wash my eyes with baby shampoo and I'm good to go. No sty.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
@infatuatedbby Maybe the baby shampoo (no more tears!) washes away the bacteria that was trying to get you.
3 people like this
@just4him (127167)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
15 Feb 16
We have 'Ask a Nurse' here and not associated with any insurance, but is provided by the local hospital. I've used it once. It's a free service.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
That's a cool thing. Does the hospital "gain" somehow by doing this service?
2 people like this
@just4him (127167)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse They do if the nurse recommends you get to the hospital asap. Which on that occasion I needed to. They gained by giving me a bill
@jstory07 (69923)
• Roseburg, Oregon
15 Feb 16
We can never get a hold of anyone when we call.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
What insurer do you have? Sometimes I have to wait but I always get through. I'd file a complaint if I were you. The psychologist in me knows that just talking to someone alleviates stress, which can help activate the immune system.
2 people like this
@JudyEv (134917)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Feb 16
I often come across posts from Americans that this service provider doesn't provide this, that or the other. I think ours all provide much the same just at different rates, etc. Everyone pays a health care levy in their taxes which funds Medicare, a government health fund. Then you can opt for private insurance with any number of providers. Dental, hospital, maternity cover, etc might by optional and you make your choices. For non-urgent, non-critical cases and advice you can dial Healthdirect and speak to a Registered Nurse. If she thinks it necessary she will put you through to a doctor for more specialised advice. This is a free service and not connected to any of the health funds.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
Interesting! So basic heath care IS "socialized" as in many (all?) Euro countries? I get my insurance through one of my jobs. But I have options about things like which plan, is dental included, etc. A bit comes out of each paychck, but it's still a good deal for me.
3 people like this
@JudyEv (134917)
• Bunbury, Australia
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse When we lived where there was no doctor and an emergency meant calling in the Flying Doctor we opted for the highest cover. For years we weren't game enough to drop a level - tempting fate and all that. We still have good cover although Medicare is very efficient too. The main difference would probably be that if you're only in Medicare you'd go on a waiting list for most operations. It annoys me that the first thing you're asked at any medical office is if you're say you have private cover. I have images of them adding another 0 to the bill. Many doctors 'bulk bill' so a visit to the doctor often costs you nothing as they claim straight off the government. This sometimes results in rorts too especially with doctors from countries where corruption is rife.
3 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
@JudyEv I've heard the same sort of thing about Canada--that socialized medicine is good for routine maintenance, but you might have to wait 25 years if you need a liver transplant.
4 people like this
• United States
15 Feb 16
This old lady didn't know Advice Nurses either but I'm glad you wrote about this. See, once again, I learned something new here today
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
Did you see @ElizabethWallace's response? I learned something too!
2 people like this
• United States
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse now I learned two things today
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
@Marilynda1225 Useful information, I think!
@teamfreak16 (41407)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
15 Feb 16
I think we have something like that here, but I've never had to call, fortunately.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
You re blessed. Or are you 25?
2 people like this
@teamfreak16 (41407)
• Colorado Springs, Colorado
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse - double that and add a year. I've been lucky, I guess.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
@teamfreak16 Ah, so you're in the "normal" MyLot demographic, as am I. I've been lucky too.
2 people like this
@Auntylou (4318)
• Oxford, England
14 Feb 16
We have an NHS helpline number, though it i quite controversial as it is just a help line with nurses on call behind the scenes. I am sure that if we take out private health insurance such would be there. I tend to use my sister who is a nurse!
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
Yes, I have a first cousin who is an endocrinologist, but knowledgeable in many area of medicine. I contact him for some general questions. What is controversial about the NHS Helpline?
2 people like this
@Auntylou (4318)
• Oxford, England
14 Feb 16
@TheHorse That the staff are not trained medical professionals, and go through long tick boxes , not always appreciating the nature and severity of symptoms.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
14 Feb 16
@Auntylou Ah, OK. The ones I've spoken with here have been quite competnet. I don't use doctors often, but that's been my experience thus far.
2 people like this
@Plethos (10920)
• United States
15 Feb 16
advice nurse? i dont even have a health plan.
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
What do you do when you have an in-grown toenail or kidney failure or something?
2 people like this
@Plethos (10920)
• United States
16 Feb 16
@TheHorse - die
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
15 Feb 16
Yes, I find it somewhat shocking that a businesswoman wouldn't have found out that she was not just allowed to call an "Advice Nurse", but usually encouraged to use their services! An "Advice Nurse" invariably costs less than a doctor's visit, but can usually explain how to keep an illness or other treatable problem from escalating far enough that the average person needs to see a doctor.... That saves the insurance company money! Yep! I have used the nurse my insurance pays to answer my questions several times over the years. I've always found them helpful and sympathetic to a problem...
2 people like this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
I was really surprised my friend hadn't heard about them, or didn't know she had access. I asked her tonight if she wanted to be my agent. I want to do trainings for doctors about how not to be a--holes.
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (25922)
• Aurora, Missouri
16 Feb 16
@TheHorse Uhm... I know you didn't ask my opinion, but may I suggest you find a better descriptive phrase for your training program? Someone might take offense at your wording... I'm just sayin'! It is funny, but I'd rather whatever you get into take off to the good, not drown you in anything else! Good luck with it, if you really do that! I believe in you, pony!
@Jessicalynnt (47880)
• Centralia, Missouri
16 Feb 16
what kind of OTC meds? like a pain killer or some kind of creme? I get those things now and then and they are ANNOYING. I dont know if we have an advice nurse, but for small things we can telladoc, and get meds without seeing anyone
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
16 Feb 16
It was eye drops with sulfur and other stuff in them. What is "telladoc"?C
1 person likes this
• Centralia, Missouri
17 Feb 16
@TheHorse you go online and req an appointment call, then the dr calls you back, for small things, they can send prescriptions to your pharmacy. All over the phone, no appt needed. costs more than it does for me to go to the dr though, but nice for convenience sake
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
17 Feb 16
@Jessicalynnt That sounds like a good system. I can actually do that with my Dr. as well. It's called a telephone appointment, or something like that.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Feb 16
Yes, several times I have called. I have found them to be most helpful,
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
25 Feb 16
Why are they so much better than the doctors themselves?
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 16
@TheHorse Not more helpful than the doctor, but helpful in deciding if a trip to the ER is necessary.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
25 Feb 16
@Jeanniemaries To me, they've been more helpful in engaging me in dialog and helping be decide what might be wrong. They've also been more compassionate and supportive, reducing cortisol and making me feel a touch better immediately after speaking with them.
@paigea (22484)
• Canada
15 Feb 16
Alberta Health Care has something like that to call. My husband has called. I don't know what it's called - not advice nurse. Anyway they were very helpful to him and saved us a trip to emergency just to be seen for a minor thing. A great service to have way out in the country side. I would think every insurance company would have one as it will save them money!
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
That was my thought as well (a way to save money). I was really surprised my friend didn't know she had one available.
1 person likes this
@paigea (22484)
• Canada
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse You would think the insurance provider would promote it. All though I don't know if that service existed when my girls were young. Maybe it did and I never knew. So lots of people may not know about it.
• United States
15 Feb 16
I have called them, but really not much help, they are looking up the information, the same way I can on the internet. If I feel like it is an emergency , I will just go to ER if the doctors office is closed. The most an advice nurse has told me is to call the doc in the morning, or go to ER.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
Oh, I've had long, helpful discussions with the ones here. I can't even remember what they were about, but I remember coming away pleased--and relieved.
1 person likes this
• United States
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse most of ours, just seem to be reading a script. I have some eye sty drops on hand, they work fast. Haven't had to deal with that for a long time.
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
15 Feb 16
Yes I know about advice nurses as my secondary insurance says I can call them if I have any problems but I never have done so as if I have a problem I can call my doctors office.
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
I can email my Doctor, but he gives canned responses--not very helpful.
1 person likes this
@Marcyaz (35606)
• United States
16 Feb 16
@TheHorse No, that would not be helpful at all.
@Platespinner (17062)
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
15 Feb 16
I've never called the advice nurse, but then I rarely have any health problems. The last couple of times I've been to an urgent care clinic it was just to get a prescription for antibiotics. I already knew what the problem was and knew there was no OTC medicines that would help (stupid UTIs).
1 person likes this
@TheHorse (72398)
• Walnut Creek, California
15 Feb 16
You had to see a Doctor before you got the antibiotics, right? I've never used Urgent Care.
1 person likes this
• Winston Salem, North Carolina
15 Feb 16
@TheHorse You got it.