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A range of clinicians such as nurses, GPs, pharmacists and paramedics now work within NHS 111 to provide clinical advice, treatment and reassurance. Here Nicola Gaskell, an NHS 111 Senior Clinical Advisor gives us an insight into her day.
The first call of the day is a man with a rash. I complete an assessment and give him homecare advice, signposting him to a pharmacist for advice on managing the rash.
A husband calls for his wife who is terminally ill. She has not had a comfortable night and feels she might need some more pain killers. She is at the end of her life and has a plan of care in place. After reassuring her husband, the details are passed to the district nurses who will go to see the patient and ensure she is kept comfortable.
Next I take a call from a mental health patient, things have got so bad he is thinking about ending his life, he has planned how he will do it, wants to do it now and has the means to do it. We dispatch an ambulance and I stay on the phone to talk to him until help arrives, all the while in the back of my mind I’m thinking “please don’t do it”.
My next call is from the mum of a newborn baby. She sounds very nervous while giving the patients details…. she’s worried. Baby is struggling to breathe – upper tummy and chest sucking in with every breath (I can hear the baby grunting). An ambulance is dispatched for respiratory distress. Now I wait on the phone, keeping mum reassured and checking the baby is not deteriorating. The ambulance arrives quickly.
This is a small snippet of some of the calls I have taken. In between this I have had my breaks, answered emails, completed safeguarding referrals and spoken to GP reception staff.
As you can see it’s a really varied job dealing with people who have a range of conditions at different stages of their lives.