Tips for New Triage Nurses

As a Triage Nurse your challenging duty is to medically assess the patients’ illnesses and symptoms to determine which patients need immediate attention from the doctor. It’s a tricky job considering having to deal with a room full of worried patients and family members, so doing it as a novice can seem pretty much impossible. But, don’t worry, there have been many people in your shoes and we’re going to simplify it by giving you some tips and tricks to ace your job!

First things first, greet every patient with a smile.

They are already scared, so try and ease their anxiety by treating them warmly. If you make your patients feel more comfortable, they will feel better telling you their medical history. If you were to be cold and emotionless, they might feel the need to withhold some important parts of their medical history that could help you in the end.

Take your time and be efficient.

I know there may be tons of people in the waiting room but rushing your patients won’t do you any good. Take it slow with them. Make sure you’re getting all the information needed to be able to follow the correct protocol. It’s easy to jump to conclusions after you hear the first symptom but you need to explore all possibilities.

Trust your instincts.

So many people come into the emergency room with self-diagnoses that they got from the internet. Take into consideration their concerns, but also give a full assessment and make your decisions based on that assessment. Remember that this is your decision and not theirs, you’re the one with the credentials and knowledge.

Don’t be afraid to ask more questions.

Probe a little further into your patient’s history or ask them questions that could narrow down the list of potential medical problems to improve your chances of finding the cause of your patients’ symptoms.

Have open communication with your patients.

Be sure to make them comfortable enough to want to come in if they have any other symptoms or if any of their illnesses worsen. Don’t fall into the trap of once you hand off the patient to the doctor, you are done. Before the patient leaves, make sure he or she knows that if they have any questions or concerns to come to you. Be approachable.  Also, make sure you’re communicating with your other patients in the waiting room by keeping them updated on delays or just simply checking in on them.

Triage nurses have a big responsibility as they are the first person a patient sees when they are scared and in a time of need.  Figuring out the cause of their illness takes time and careful attention.  To apply for one of our Triage Nurse positions, click here.