How can I be a good triage nurse?

As a telephone triage nurse, it is important to create a positive patient experience with the caller, making a connection and thereby gaining their trust. There are several steps that lead up to earning this connection, including what you do before your shift, during, and after you end the call. Below are helpful ways to make sure you have full focus on the caller in order to provide the best possible experience for them.

Preparing For Your Shift

Whether you are working from home, an office, or in a hospital, it is important to have a comfortable and conducive working environment. You should have no distractions. If working from home, turn the television off;  move the children and pets to another room and close the door. Keep in mind that HIPAA rules apply even when working from home. (check out this related article on the liability for triage nurses)

If working in an office or hospital setting, try to find a room with a door that can be closed that will give you privacy and quiet. It is also important not to eat, drink or chew gum while on calls, so that the patient can clearly understand what you tell them. You have only a minute or two to connect with the patient, and all these distractions make it difficult to connect. These strategies allow you to remain focused on the caller, which will give you the ability to triage correctly in a professional manner.

Before you start your shift, give yourself 15 minutes to prepare and ensure your equipment is working properly. Some of these tasks may include checking that your computer and phone are connected to the internet, making sure your internet is working properly, and having a pen and notepad handy. After verifying your equipment is working, inform your back-up nurse that you are ready to start your shift.

How To Create A Positive Experience During Your Shift

As a telephone triage nurse, it is important that you create an excellent experience for your patients. Some phone calls may be very challenging and require you to be extra focused and firm. Click here to read an article about great tips on how to handle a difficult caller.

When you are speaking with a patient, a good reminder is to think about some of the experiences that you personally have had while on a phone call with a customer service representative. Some characteristics of a good call representative include: being patient, caring, helpful, courteous, confident, and resourceful. It is important to remember these characteristics and put them into practice in order to make a positive experience for the caller.

Completion Of Your Shift

Once your shift time is up, you should follow the completion steps provided by your employer. Some of these steps may include sending a report of the activities such as the number of calls answered, unusual calls or situations, and any difficulties that may have been encountered.


Remember, as a telephone triage nurse, you want to try to create a positive patient experience for each of your callers. It is important to practice and follow the techniques mentioned above to master the art of a phone call. This will take time, but do not get discouraged.

To discover more free educational materials for telephone nurses and medical professionals, visit our Learning Center. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about how our advanced clinical call center can help your practice or organization.