University Medical Center in Lubbock has the 74NURSE call center where you can talk to a nurse 24 hours a day 365 days a year and Stephanie Hunter, 74NURSE Director, said she hand picks every nurse in her program.
"My nurses are all registered nurses that answer the calls and they have to have at least two years of experience in the hospital. Right now my average experience is about 15 amongst my nurses. I have some that have all the way up into the 40's."
Hunter said the nurses use a computer system called LVM, which has questions from doctors that guide and help the nurses evaluate your symptoms.
"We're able to take your information, your problem, the way you state it like stomach pain and we type it in and then it kind of triggers us to ask you a set of questions which then goes through an algorithm that gives us what the program thinks your diagnosis is probably going to be. Then we use our nursing knowledge to pick and choose from there which sounds the best.
After a series of questions and taking your medical history, Hunter said, the nurses can tell you where to go and even help you get into see a doctor if you need one.
"It may say that you need to just get to the emergency room, have someone take you. It will tell you that you need urgent care or that you need to go see a primary care physician, which is what we call a PCP, or you can take care of the problem at home."
Calls to 74NURSE are unlimited and completely free which Hunter said can save smaller towns and communities time and money.
"A lot of these small towns they just don't have the physicians offices like we do here in the city so its nice to know that you don't necessarily need to drive all the way to the nearest ER, which may be 30 minutes away, for care when it's something that can be taken care of at home."
74NURSE is open 24/7, just call 806-74-NURSE, that's 806-746-8773.