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As a nurse adviser at NHS Direct Wales I have a challenging and varied role. I use my clinical experience and knowledge to give advice to callers, ranging from helping decide the most appropriate level of care, to discussing a diagnosed illness and offering reassurance and support.

A key part of my job is to assess people’s symptoms. The variety of calls we get makes for an interesting and rewarding role. For example, one call might be about an injury; the next could need an assessment for a rash.

As well as through our national 0845 4647 number, we get calls through a number of other routes. We assess 999 callers who’ve been classed as not being life-threatening emergencies and receive calls from Hospital Emergency Departments across Wales. We also take calls for GP Out-of-Hours services in Swansea and Gwynedd & Anglesey.

I don’t diagnose over the phone. I assess the patient using my clinical expertise and experience, backed-up with special Clinical Assessment Software and aim to give them a safe, appropriate outcome based on their needs. This could result in sending a 999 vehicle, referring to another health professional such as a Community Pharmacist or dentist or giving them information to manage their health at home. 

I use a range of resources to support me. We have a library of medical reference books, an electronic directory of local services across Wales and access to a variety of professional online resources.

The fact that we are a 24 hr service providing nurse assessment makes us unique in that there is always someone available to offer advice.

Feedback from callers shows that they appreciate being able to talk to someone about their concerns without feeling rushed, this gives me enormous job satisfaction. The fact that it is not face-to- face allows them to be more comfortable when talking about sensitive issues.

As a Nurse Adviser I help the public of Wales make informed choices about their healthcare and ensuring that the health service in Wales is used appropriately.


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