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Having a nurse at hand will soon be available

  • Published
  • By Capt. (Dr.) Jennifer Roper
  • 90th Medical Operations Squadron
It can be tough taking care of health concerns, especially when you do not have access to your primary care clinic around-the-clock.

There are many questions new parents face when they have children - what should you do about your child's fever, when should you seek care for a lingering cough, does a cut need stitches, should you go to the ER or wait until the morning to see a doctor?

For those who have been wishing they had a nurse as a close friend or someone they could call for reliable medical advice regardless of the hour, the wait is almost over. The 90th Medical Group telephone line will soon be able to connect people to the Air Force Nurse Advice Line - a centralized advice line providing Tricare beneficiaries with immediate, around-the-clock access to medical knowledge from highly trained registered nurses.

Benefits of NAL
· Nurses are able to advise on home care for minor illnesses and injuries
· Nurses can follow up with patients after giving advice for children.
· If an office visit is needed, they can book same day appointments with the medical team here at F. E. Warren.
· If you are traveling, nurses can assist with out-of-area urgent care referrals.
· Nurses can appropriately direct you to the Emergency Room (ER) if your symptoms warrant emergency care.

How NAL helps
The 90th MDG is in the midst of implementing a new initiative called Patient Centered Medical Home. Our goal is for the clinic to be the home for all your medical needs; a place where you have an ongoing relationship with your provider and his or her medical team - something similar to the doctor's office in a small town. We practice world-class medicine. Through constant exposure, we become familiar with your health and want to care for your medical concerns, particularly when you are ill.

Using the NAL and having a quick discussion with a nurse, no matter what the issue is, can help free up appointments for other patients, improving access to medical care for everyone. The NAL is designed to have open communication with your PCMH team - improving our ability to know your needs and address them appropriately.

According to a 2013 U.S. Senate report: "Visits to emergency rooms are not only more expensive, but the lack of continuity in care can result in extra tests, limited follow-up care, and an increased risk for medical errors." The ultimate goal is to help us get the right patient, to the right place, with the right care, and the ER and urgent care are not always best.

What to do when sick, injured
If your life, your limb or eyesight is threatened, do not delay in seeking care. There are many medical concerns that need to be evaluated in the emergency room - such as chest pain, sudden or severe onset of pain, difficulty breathing, stroke symptoms, severe bleeding, head injury, and trauma.

If your concern does not involve potential loss of life, limb, or eyesight, using the MiCare system, the Air Force's secure message system, can help get information. With the MiCare system, you have the ability to communicate directly with your Medical Home team electronically for medication renewals, test results and any questions you may have. Talk to your healthcare team about enrolling.

Another good alternative source for information is, which allows you to enter symptoms and follow a flow chart to help you know where and when to seek care.

For those with children, is a trusted source for medical advice.
If all else fails, phone a (nursing) friend. The NAL will be available in April and can be accessed by calling the 90th MDG at 307-773-3461 or DSN 481-3461.

We are here to serve you. The personnel at the 90th MDG are excited and privileged to offer outstanding medical care to our beneficiaries and their families. Do not hesitate to contact a member of your local medical group if you have any questions or concerns about how to best manage your medical care.