The 10 Critical Steps of Taking a Triage Call
This short video introduces the key steps for a triage nurse to take a triage call. The goal of every triage call is to make a patient feel comfortable and heard, while at the same time collect the critical information from the patient and get them to the appropriate level of care based on their symptoms.
Full courses on nurse telephone triage is available at the TriageLogic Learning Center.
Step One – Introduce yourself. Use your first name, title, and the practice or physician you are representing. It’s imperative for you to clearly identify yourself and state your credentials as a nurse employee of the practice for which you work. When you introduce yourself, you create a relationship.
Step Two – Collecting Demographic Information. Before you are ready to hear your patient’s concerns, you will need to know some of this basic information. Age, gender, and other data will impact your triage protocols, so be sure to collect all the necessary demographic information. This information is needed so it can be put in the appropriate chart and followed up.
Step Three – Collecting a brief past medical history. Get a brief medical history so you do not miss any important surgeries, medications, or relevant medical information from the recent months or years. You’ll want to know your patient’s medical history before they detail the current issue.
Step Four – Letting the patient talk. Now that you’ve armed yourself with all the necessary and valuable information you need to proceed, let the patient speak freely about their current concerns. Be an active listener! That means you don’t just listen, but you participate in the conversation by asking any probing questions needed to ascertain a full description of their complaint.
Step Five – Document the Assessment. Once you’ve listened carefully to the patient, document your assessment carefully with the necessary details.
Step Six – Choose the right protocol. If you’re using TriageLogic’s Schmitt-Thompson Protocols, this step is fast and efficient.Be sure to document the ‘Yes’ to each question and make any additional notes needed at the end.
Step Seven – Get the Patient to the Right Level of Care. Now that you’ve followed the protocols and completed the assessment, you’re ready to recommend the level of care your patient needs. Be sure to speak clearly and at a pace the patient can follow while you detail every step they need to take next.
Step Eight – Give relevant care advice. Give the patient care advice based on their symptoms in order to help them find the best path to care.
Step Nine – Make sure your patient knows when to call back. Confirm that the patient fully understands your triage advice and knows when and who to follow up with.
Step Ten – Offer reassurance and be sure your patient is able and willing to follow the plan you discussed. It is important, especially with serious symptoms, that the patient follows your triage advice. If told to go to the ER, verify with the patient that they have access to safe transportation.
You can’t underestimate the power of empathy. Over 80 percent of patients who call in to their physician’s office may not need urgent care, but they all urgently need empathy, someone to listen, and someone to care. That’s the role of the triage nurse. In addition to being a good clinician, a critical thinker, and making sure everybody stays safe, you are also there to provide empathy and care advice and offer patients a helping hand. These 10 Critical Steps of a Triage Call will help you stay on track and ensure that the patient gets the quality care that they deserve.
About the TriageLogic Online Learning Center
TriageLogic’s Online Learning Center is available free of charge to telephone triage nurses and teams as an educational resource and practical training guide. Along with course videos, coursework includes class notes, related articles, and learning materials. You will receive a TriageLogic Telephone Nurse Triage Certification for each completed course. Managers can also set-up teams and check on their individual nurse progress in the course.
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