Anyone living in the greater Houston area is now able to talk directly with a registered nurse at any time by calling the new Nurse Health Line at 713-338-7979. The new 24-hour line was created by Memorial Hermann Health with support from government funding and is being provided free of charge to the public. The service will be provided regardless of the caller’s insurance status or primary care provider.
Callers are able to reach experienced registered nurses over the phone who will evaluate health needs and give medical advice regarding the best course of treatment for illnesses and injuries. While the phone line is not a substitute for 911, it does promise to be helpful in getting a general idea of what to do in most non-emergency situations.
“We have people that call because they see a rash and they’re not sure if it’s something they should run to the hospital. A lot of people will show up in the emergency room because they’re unsure, but this way you can have a nurse to speak with and kind of talk that out,” said Chris Stephens, director of the Nurse Health Line program.
The service is intended to provide help to area residents in activities such as deciding when and where to go for treatment, finding out how to treat a sick child, learning to manage an existing medical condition or understand a diagnosis and whether or not to visit an emergency room.
All calls to the Nurse Health Line are confidential and answered by a staff of professionals who are experienced in assessment of clinical situations. Nurses use their training, experience, evidence-based decision-support tools, and peer-reviewed materials to conduct their assessments and help callers as quickly and effectively as possible.
The Nurse Health Line also features bilingual staff and language interpreters for those who are most comfortable speaking in languages other than English.
Should a life-threatening emergency situation occur, however, callers are encouraged to call 911 directly, rather than calling the Nurse Health line.