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Triage Protocols – Why Use Them and How do They Work?
Watch this short video to get an overview of triage protocols and the importance of using protocols when evaluating patients over the phone. Triage Protocols are specialized algorithms that are used to evaluate the seriousness of a caller’s condition, based on the caller’s symptom. The nurse asks a series of questions starting with the highest acuity, 911, and working down to those symptoms that can safely be managed at home.
Because of the variety of ages and multitude of reasons for patient phone calls, telephone triage protocols have to be extremely comprehensive and need to give targeted advice based on the symptoms of the caller. In offices and hospitals, nurse triage is used to handle daytime and afterhours patient phone calls, as well as for follow up calls after patients are discharged from a hospital visit. These protocols are available in book form (such as Dr. Schmitt and Dr. Thompson’s books) or in electronic format (such as MyTriageChecklistTM).
Protocols used during office hours have fewer guidelines because offices are open and nurses can ask patients to come in if needed. As a result, daytime protocols are shorter and simpler to document. After hours calls are more extensive because doctor’s offices are closed and patients that require immediate care have fewer low-cost options. These calls require more extensive protocols and documentation, resulting in a longer and more in depth triage process. You can learn more about telephone triage and protocols by downloading our free ebook.
This short video explains why protocols are so useful and how they work as a navigation tool. Beginning with the initial assessment to sending the patient to the correct level of care as their destination, protocols help triage nurses to take the right steps to be sure that the patient is receiving proper care.
This video is also a part of our Clinical Protocol Training Course. You can watch and learn more about protocols by viewing the entire course for free. Our most recent lesson, “Navigating Protocols: Steps 1 and 2”, of the Clinical Protocol Training course includes practical teaching for telephone triage nurses to employ during each triage encounter.
About the TriageLogic Online Learning Center
TriageLogic’s Online Learning Center is available free of charge to telephone triage nurses and health providers as an educational resource and practical training guide.
If you are a call center or practice manager looking to sign up your team, TriageLogic’s Online Learning Center can be leveraged to track training and progress of new nurses. Encourage your team to become TriageLogic Certified telephone triage nurses by contacting Kayla.Broadrick@triagelogic.com to set up your group today!
– The goal of this nurse triage training is to provide you with information needed to be an effective telephone triage nurse. Lessons include “Working With Patients and “How to Manage Difficult Calls”.
– During this course, you will familiarize yourself with the critical steps of a triage call and develop an understanding of protocols. Lessons include “What are Protocols and How to Use Them”, and “What are the Critical Steps to a Triage Call”.
The protocols act as the nurses’ navigation tool. She must first determine the coordinates, or patient symptoms, and then plug those symptoms into her initial assessment to come up with the most accurate protocol to get her patient to the right destination or level of care.
Choosing the wrong protocol may delay this care and potentially place her patient at risk for complications.
While protocols are helpful to keep the nurse focused and on track, they are just one of many tools she uses.
Protocols should never be a replacement for a nursing judgement or critical thinking.
Instead, they should enhance the nurses’ skills and help her fine-tune her decision making.
Most importantly, protocols provide a standardized approach to each call and they act as a reminder of details that could be overlooked.
Please visit our learning center for more articles and videos and feel free to leave comments and share this video with your colleague.