An advice nurse is a nurse who works at a physician’s office, clinic, student health clinic, hospital, or even insurance company who specializes in answering calls to advise patients over the phone with basic medical evaluations and treatment advice. Often, an advice nurse will help a patient determine whether or not they need to come into the doctor’s office to see a medical professional. If not, an advice nurse may give some basic advice about treating minor injuries or illnesses, and provide follow up instructions. Advice nurses must adhere to state and federal regulations, protocol and guidelines with nursing advice, and follow up with paper work and physician consultation if necessary. The advice nursing service can be tremendously useful for busy patients and can also streamline the time physicians and nurses spend treating patients. The advice nurse position or service is also referred to as clinical nurse triage telephone service in some settings or as telephone triage nursing. Sometimes it is an ideal job position for experienced nurses who are disabled or otherwise incapable of practicing nursing traditionally in an office or hospital, but have the knowledge to still help patients.
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The current economic downturn has lead to a significant rise in the number of unemployed individuals without health insurance. Advice nurse hotlines have proved to be a great resource for those without insurance and who have concerns about their health and the health of their family. Some of the advice nurse hotlines are also providing assistance with health insurance questions.
Advice nurses are always experienced, registered nurses (RN) with either a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree in nursing. Sometimes they are advanced practice nurses, too. Depending on your employer, there is work for advice nurses at all levels and in many specialties. Specialty clinics focusing on cardiology, obstetrics, oncology, or pediatrics will also utilize these nurses. To work as an advice nurse you will need to complete your nursing education by earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree (BSN), or a shorter two or three year Associate Degree of Science in Nursing (ASN), or a nursing diploma from a hospital nursing program. Becoming an RN enables you to take the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) to earn your nursing license. Once you have your degree and license, you will legally be able to work as a nurse and gain the experience you will need to become an advice nurse.
Nursing is one of the fastest growing professions in an already booming healthcare job sector, and it is becoming more and more specialized, just as the overall medical field is. The average salary for an RN in the United States is most recently reported as $62,450 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with geographic location, employer, education, and experience being deciding factors in determining your salary. Nurses generally enjoy good benefits as well. Job security is also a good bonus to pursuing this career, as medical facilities struggle to meet the needs of their patients with enough nurses to fill the gaps left by retiring nurses. There is a specialty for everyone in the broad field of nursing. If being an advice nurse sounds appealing to you and you are currently practicing nurse, start asking around your current place of employment to see if any positions are available or may soon open. For those who are not currently registered nurses, start researching and applying to nursing programs in your state.
(Sources: University of California Santa Barbara Student Health Services, Duke University Human Resources)