How many times have you wondered if an illness you or your child had was serious enough to go to the emergency room?
Luckily there is a service that's been around for nearly two decades that for hundreds of thousands of you, has been like a mom in the middle of the night.
When you call Ask-a-Nurse at 322-6877 this is where your call goes. A registered nurse is available 24/7 to field your questions. Most of the calls coming in to the Avera Medical Call Center are from first time parents or soon to be parents and the frequency tends to increase during flu season.
Monte Bertsch is the director of the Avera Medical Call Center and says, "We really get calls that run the whole gambit. From flu outbreaks to people needing help with pregnancy issues. Questions regarding their health. And we help with everything from A to Z."
And the nurses on duty laugh about some of the questions regarding Z. Rosemary Murphy is a registered nurse and manager of the call center. She's been a part of the program for almost as long as it's been in existence. She says, "We do get a lot of strange calls but for the most part it's people with symptoms who are really needing our help. I think we are a good access for them. We are quick. We are always available. We're here 24/7 and physicians offices aren't always available all the time on weekends, at night, on holidays and we're always here."
If you've called ask-a-nurse you know... sometimes it's just nice to hear that comforting voice when you are stressed the most. Especially if something is wrong with one of your children and who don't know what to do.
Murphy says, "As nurses we can't diagnose but we can advise. Often times they do need to see a physician and sometimes all they need is the reassurance that yes it's okay to call their doctor even in the middle of the night. And in some cases they are alright to wait until morning."
So now you when you see the graphic every night on KSFY Live at 5:00 and at 10:00 (877-AT-AVERA) who's on the other end.
The Avera Medical Call Center can get upwards of at least 200 calls a day.
It is free and the nurses will follow up with you the days following your call to see how you are doing.