Telephone triage nurses require a different set of skills than traditional nursing positions. All of their interaction with the patient will happen over the phone. As a result, their initial greeting will set the tone of the conversation to follow. There is an art to answering the phone. Since a telephone triage nurse is not actually in front of the patient, they need to really make a positive first impression on the caller with their introduction. They need to instantly gain the trust of the patient and make sure that the caller knows that they will be cared for.
When a patient is unwell, they are hoping to speak to someone who is receptive and friendly. They want to feel like the triage nurse is listening and cares about what they have to say. The nurse should always keep in mind that the caller is most likely in pain, anxious, worried, or stressed.
The nurse’s tone needs to be friendly and empathetic. Smiling is contagious, even over the phone. A telephone triage nurse must be friendly yet professional. Expressing compassion and listening carefully will help build trust with the caller. The more comfortable the caller feels the more information they will provide.
While maintaining a caring demeanor, the nurse must also remember to maintain a professional greeting. They need to let the caller know who they are, where they’re calling from, and the reason for the call. The nurse should reassure the caller that they are there to help.
The telephone triage nurse must remain calm and convey confidence. They should avoid weak phrases such as, “I think,” “I’m not sure,” and “maybe.” If the triage nurse is uncertain of an answer or how to reply to a caller’s concerns, they should say, “let me check into that.” The nurse should utilize their company’s resources and follow up with an answer.
From the moment the triage nurse answers the phone they have the ability to create a positive call experience for the patient and themselves. How the caller perceives the nurse impacts the way they will communicate. The nurse should not be distracted so that they can focus on the caller. The more the caller feels that their nurse is truly listening, the more information they will share.
For more tips and lessons for effective telephone triage, visit TriageLogic’s Learning Center.
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