Here's my lame career path...any chance I could do triage?

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    I am looking to try telephone triage, if I have the right skill set. I have really injured my nursing career with the choices I've made...I started out fresh out of nursing school doing part-time in orthopedics in a hospital. The stress ate me up, so I started scaling back my hours at around year 4, and for the last 2 years I was there I worked less and less. The less I worked, the more stressful it seemed because I felt out of the loop. Yet I hated it so bad, I couldn't bring myself to work more! I finally quit. Took a year off basically, did flu shot clinics that fall. Then went to work doing a very stress-free job leading patients through pre-screening scripts for certain clinical trials. That job is in a major holding pattern right now due to lack of projects, so I need something else. I am thinking telephone triage might be something I would enjoy. I have essentially shot myself in the foot professionally, I barely feel like a nurse anymore. I wonder if I really still have any skills. I'm so regretful that I didn't stay doing something clinical. Any thoughts? Am I a lost cause?
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  3. 3 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    Hi turncoughdeepbreathe

    Sorry to hear you are feeling low right now. The key skill for a telephone triage nurse is critical thinking. If you are able to question people opf varying communication abilities and make decisions based on those questions, then you'd be able to do telephone triage. However, this is a wide sweeping statement, and not everyone is cut out for this. The jobs vary hugely. Can you live with not ever finding out the result of your advice? Of not seeing your patients? Not everyone can. The down side of the work can be the repetitive nature of the calls, especially as some jobs take a lot of calls about quite trivial symptoms - colds, vomiting & diarrhoea, head lice etc over and over and over. Another downside can be the volume of calls you might be expected to get through (depending upon the company you work for) or the 'big brother' style performance management with every call being taped etc.

    Having been fairly negative so far, I'd like to add that it suits some folk down to the ground - I did it for 8 years and loved it - no-one vomiting over me, only being able to deal with one patient at a time etc - great!

    Whatever you decide, I wish you well - please come back and let us know what you have decided and how you get on!
  5. 0
    First of all, you need to stop thinking you are lame. When you start valuing your experience, you will feel good about yourself. Nothing you do is lame. Hospital nursing is for a certain kind of person. The rest of us are just different not lame. Now honestly, there is more demand for hospital nurses, that is because very few people can do it and there is a that is the mainstream. There are niches too, which is for the rest of the people.

    I see that you cannot say, I have so many years of doing so and so. Why don't you start working at a community clinic where all ages visit. That will help you greatly when you do triage, as triage is basically community medicine online.

    Cheer up! You saved man lives giving flu shots.
  6. 0
    What have you done about addressing the issues of difficulty dealing with stress?
    I mean you graduated Nursing school which was the biggest stressor of my life. So what changed when you entered the clinical mileau?

    Are you in therapy? You should seek some counselling. Sometime anti anxiolytics can help you to chill a bit but therapy can really help a great deal. Because you will run into stressfull situations in all specialties of Nursing. Remember we are dealing with patients who are undergoing both physical pain as well as mental anguish. Quite often they dump on us. Quite often we dump on each other.

    So before you make a move anywhere get some help and really think out what you would like to do in Nursing and what is acceptable to you.

    I have been an RN for 20 yers was an EMT before that and Paramedic after and RN ED, Psych and Elephone triage. There is stress everywhere. What's impotant is how we deal with it!


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