How and Why to Call the Nurse

You’ve had a persistent pain in your chest, or you notice an unusual rash, or your child bumped his head while playing on the playground. You feel as though you should seek some type of medical care, but you’re not quite sure whether your issue merits a trip to the hospital or a visit with your primary care doctor. Calling your doctor’s office and speaking with a nurse can help you determine the next step in seeking care.

What type of care do you need?

Emergency room visits are expensive, and they aren’t always necessary for your medical issue. Sometimes urgent care is a better alternative, and sometimes your issue can wait until you are able to see your doctor.

It can be difficult, however, to determine whether your health issue requires emergency medical care, or if you can wait to see your primary care physician. Calling the nurse can help. A nurse may tell you whether you should make an appointment with your doctor, head to an urgent care clinic, or go directly to the emergency room.

When should you call the nurse?

Call if you’re worried or if you have a question regarding a current health problem such as a high fever, pain, discomfort, or other symptoms.

A nurse can provide more information about your health condition, and they can tell you whether you should make an appointment with your doctor or seek immediate care.

The nurse can also help you understand a recent diagnosis, and prepare for treatments, procedures, or your visit with your doctor.

Call if you want to schedule an appointment with your doctor, or if you want to communicate information to your doctor.

Call if you need a prescription refilled. Your nurse can’t write prescriptions but can communicate the request to your doctor. MANA patients can request medication refills through the myMANA patient portal.

Don’t expect to receive a diagnosis or medical advice over the phone, but don’t hesitate to call your doctor’s office to speak to a nurse!

Preparing for your call

While you are probably going to call the nurse to get answers, you do need to have some information as well. Being prepared with some basic information makes it easier for the nurse to assist you.

If you’re calling for a non-emergency, take some time to think about and write down pertinent information. How long have you had symptoms? Do you have any other symptoms? Is there anything (a change in position, over the counter medication?) that makes your symptoms better or worse? Think about questions that you want to ask, and be sure to ask them.

Make sure you have basic information if you’re calling on behalf of someone else.

When calling the nurse, you may speak to a nurse in person, but you might have to leave a message. Try to be as specific and detailed as possible. 

Contact a MANA clinic to speak to a nurse today! You can also message the nurse through the secure online myMANA patient portal. Login, select “Send a Message” and select your physician.