Published 02/21 2014 05:45PM

Updated 02/21 2014 06:08PM

When you’re not sure if you need a doctor, 74NURSE can help

We’ve all been there before: someone in the house has a nagging cough, a strange ache, or a stubborn fever. Do we go to the doctor, the emergency room or just take a pain reliever and sleep it off? 

UMC’s new nurse line, 74NURSE, helps take out the guesswork. The line began in 2013 as a way to serve area patients and help reduce non-urgent emergency room visits. The result is round-the-clock service helping many patients save time, anxiety and money.

“A nurse is at your beck and call -- literally,” says Stephanie Hunter,  MSN, RN, and director of 74NURSE.

Here’s how it works: a patient dials 74NURSE (746-8773) and speaks with a nurse, who then asks a series of questions to assess the patient’s medical situation. Using professional expertise as well as a medical software program, the nurse recommends a next step – like a trip to a primary care provider, an emergency room visit or at-home treatment.

The line is staffed 24 hours a day and if nurses happen to be on another line with patients, callers can leave a message for a swift return call.

The free service is available to everyone, whether or not they have insurance or a primary care provider.

UMC Health System is home to the region’s only Level I trauma center, the Timothy J. Harnar Burn Center, the UMC Heart Center, the UMC Southwest Cancer Center and the UMC Children’s Hospital. In 2013, UMC was ranked the Best Place to Work in Texas by the Best Companies Group and received the Outstanding Patient Experience Award from HealthGrades for a second consecutive year.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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