Organizations such as Wellmark provide a toll-free phone line that connects callers to a nurse around the clock. Johns Hopkins Medicine is just one organization that offers live chat with a nurse at any time of the day or night. This saves people from driving to an emergency room unnecessarily.
Whether one is using the telephone or the Internet to talk to a nurse, it is possible to get helpful information about a number of medical topics. This is an acceptable forum for callers to bring up their symptoms, ask about side effects of particular medications, inquire about self-care treatments at home, look for support and self-groups, and ask questions about general wellness. Also, questions about when to visit the physician and when to head to the emergency room for treatment are fair game on these channels, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
When people find out from their physician that they have a particular medical condition, they may need some time to process the diagnosis before they can think of all of the questions they have about their situation. In this case, calling a nurse may help them get to sleep at times when the doctor's office is closed. If a prescription is causing unexpected side effects, a quick call or online chat with one of these professionals is quicker than waiting for an on-call doctor to return a phone message, notes Wellmark.