The NRS e-learning module

The NRS e-learning module was designed to raise awareness and understanding of the National Relay Service among health professionals, with practical information that will help you explain the service to your clients and provide you with helpful resources.

The video activity section simulates some real-life conversations you may have with your clients and patients. This tips sheet is to support you while completing the video activity by providing you with some facts about the NRS. It may also act as a handy reference when encountering similar questions from your clients in your work.

More detailed information can be found on this website. You may want to help your clients find the information and print it out for them.

1.   Learning to use the NRS

It looks hard


What if I have problems?


What if I forget?

  • The NRS will support your client:
    • NRS Helpdesk is available for your and your clients’ queries
    • NRS provides free training
    • NRS will help your clients make practice calls
    • NRS Helpdesk provides technical support
  • Like any new experience it may seem hard at first but most people get used to it quite quickly

I can’t type

  • No typing for some call options: Speak and Read, Speak and Listen
  • Other call options require typing in place of speech: Type and Listen, Type and Read, Internet Relay
  • However your client doesn’t have to type well to use any of the typing call options

I can’t hear the phone to know that it’s ringing

  • TTYs have a light that flashes when there’s an incoming call
  • Additional visual signal alerts can be obtained and plugged into the TTY


2.   Having someone else involved in my telephone call

My calls won’t be private


  • All calls are strictly private and confidential under federal privacy and telecommunications legislation
  • The NRS is committed to protecting the privacy of all calls and the identity of callers
  • No records will be kept of any conversation that has been relayed through the NRS, except if it is required by law, such as emergency calls or for short-term training purposes
  • Relay officers are used to dealing with personal calls, as well as business calls
  • NRS users report that they hardly notice the relay officer after the first few minutes of their call

How will the relay officer understand me? (for Speak and Listen calls)

  • Relay officers have special training to handle calls from people with difficult-to-understand speech
  • They also have access to a caller ‘profile’ that explains the communication needs and call strategies of the individual caller


3.   Issues for family and friends 

I don’t think my family and friends will use it


How will they know what to do?


My family doesn’t like calling me through NRS. What can I do?

  • The relay officer can explain what the NRS is and how it works to your client’s family and friends on each call
  • Whoever is on the other end of the call just talks and listens like a regular call
  • The relay officers are there to help the call go smoothly
  • Friends and family might like to trial making calls with your client first
  • The benefits of using the NRS to communicate often outweigh any awkward feelings people may have about relay calls

Can other people in my house use the same phone to make their calls?

  • TTYs can also be used as ordinary phones and there’s no need for a separate phone number

I have family overseas, can they use it too?


  • Relay calls can be made to and received from people overseas
  • Your client will need an NRS account to do this. Costs for overseas calls will be charged to this account
  • Cost is about the same as any regular overseas phone call

Do they need to speak English?


  • It may not be a problem that some of your client’s family don’t speak English very well but they would need to understand spoken English
  • You client will need to use English for all parts of the call that need to be relayed


4.   Cost of calls and equipment

Is there an extra cost for making an NRS call?

  • The NRS relays calls at no extra cost
  • All your client pays is about the cost of a local call to connect to the NRS (actual costs may vary slightly between different phone companies)

How much does the TTY cost?

  • In most cases your client’s phone company can provide the TTY for the same rental as a normal phone
  • Through internet relay there’s no extra cost apart from normal internet charges

Do I need a TTY?


Where do you get a TTY from?

  • If your client cannot hear or cannot speak over the phone, then they will need a TTY (teletypewriter) to make a call, or internet access through a computer or mobile phone to make an internet relay call
  • If your client can speak but may be difficult to understand, an ordinary phone is all that is needed for the Speak and Listen option
  • In most cases, NRS users can rent a TTY for about the same cost as an ordinary phone through the disability equipment programs offered by phone companies
Make an internet relay call Make a captioned relay call

24-hour relay call numbers

  • TTY/voice calls

    133 677

  • Speak & Listen

    1300 555 727

  • SMS relay

    0423 677 767

Make other relay calls
– all the numbers you need
Free training