COVID-19 Healthline nurse reveals the challenges of phone consultations

A New Zealand COVID-19 Healthline nurse has revealed the challenges of helping clients over the phone instead of in person.

Nurse Lois Yamuta spoke to The AM Show about her job on Wednesday, which is also International Nurses Day.

"What we do is telehealth and it's one of the medical/nursing areas of practice which has been out there for a long time but is not commonly known. Not many people know the work that we do out there," she said.

"We play a vital, integral role in terms of COVID response in the country and we are so proud to be a part of that."

Yamuta takes calls from the public with questions ranging from information regarding local GP practices, to COVID-19 locations of interest, to managing medical issues.

But she said it is particularly hard to do over the phone.

"In face-to-face nursing, if you feel like you have a cough or shortness of breath, you don't even need to tell me because I can see you, I can see your colour and nasal flaring and breathing. But on the phone you don't see that, you only know the information which is provided to you. It's one of the challenges I found… I have to be really creative in assessing the person and reading between the lines."

Watch the full video.