Transition from bedside to call center/triage?

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    Hello again. I posted last year, as I am an experienced med/surg RN who applied to a call center job because I am wanting to try nursing outside of the hospital setting. I didn't get an invitation to interview then, so I just stayed at my med/surg job. Now, a year later, I finally got a nibble on a call center job! I am seriously considering it! (I still have to do some testing & interview...just doing my research "just in case" I get lucky with a job offer). I have some more questions for you who do telephone triage:

    If you had the choice of 8 hrs shifts vs. 6 hr shifts, which is better?I am not used to sitting for that long, and have no idea what it's like.

    I am curious about the internal stress of this job? Does time fly by like med/surg shifts do? They time calls at this call center, and record your calls. I hear you take calls non stop until your scheduled breaks. I *think* I might enjoy this kind of work, despite the pitfalls but maybe I am wrong? It seems like every nursing job has its own stress levels, and any job I look into has someone griping about it. There is a 4 week training and protocols to follow with position, so I think that would help somewhat. But I know the calls are timed down to the second, so that is one stress. Do you find the stress in this role at a reasonable level? Do you feel like you are helping people??

    My other concern is if I do triage, will I be doomed for moving into other areas if I choose to later on? Do I need to keep up a per diem or casual position in acute care? Or is triage considered an added skill?

    I am soooooooooooo ready to move out of med/surg, and try something new. I know I probably need to be brave and go for it. I just keep second guessing myself. Truth is, it is not my "dream Job." I have looked in several other specialties, and there's slim pickings in this economy. I really want to try a new area, but am clueless as to the realities of it. My dream job has not come my way, and though I doubt this would be my dream job, it may be more enjoyable than what I do now. What was your experience about making the transition from bedside to telehealth? Thanks for any feedback you may have.
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  4. 15 Comments so far...

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    I don't have any answers for you but I'm curious about the same thing. I'm considering leaving bedside nursing, but have the same reservations you do about not being able to go back easily if I change my mind. I left for 8 years to stay home with my children and was able to go back, but it's a different world now.
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    SweetOldWorld- Yes, times are different now. I am thinking it wise to keep a per diem or casual job on the side. Good luck to you!
    Jessy_RN likes this.
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    I recently interviewed for a call center type position and the questions they mentioned to me is this, can you sit all day, there is not any bedside ever... also, how comfortable are you on the computer? Can you sit at a computer all day? Also, making calls to patients you don't know. This can be a problem for someone that hasn't done it...getting the rapport with the patient is probably the most difficult as they don't know you and there is no face to face...

    Another thing that was mentioned to me is that the nurse's this company has hired and left or was "encouraged" to leave is because they are finding that that nurse's don't want to work. I was embarassed by this and I have seen this too in different places I have been. What ever is asked of you, do it. Don't be afraid to work and just because you are a nurse, or a BSN whatever, you are there to work and do whatever it takes to get it done...
    Good luck to you, take it and give it a try....
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    Rntr- Thanks for your input. I am curious, did you take the call center position? I have an interview coming up. If it goes well, and they offer me a job, I am inclined to try it. I have always been a hard worker. Not a problem here. To be honest, my main concern is that it sounds like a big change and interesting work, but I am fearful of the unknown element and wonder if I will be a good fit. There is always that fear when you step into the unknown. I have only worked in hospitals my whole career. I am used to running up and down med surg halls all night. I also know some folks who burned out on phone triage, but then again, I know many nurses who are burned out on floor nursing (I still work with them). As for phone triage, I think it would be interesting and a valuable skill to learn. I also I think I will do casual pool acute care, clinic or homecare on the side, however, because I do like direct patient care, and I want to keep some of my direct patient care skills up in case I want to move into another area later on. Good luck to you, too!

    Anyone else out there who has opinions, feel free to chime in! Thanks for your help.
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    I interviewed with two people and have another one to do this week and then go from there. I am ready to get to work after being off for awhile.

    I think keeping your foot in the door where you are and doing PRN is not a bad idea or doing a little something on the side..

    Good luck and let us know what you decide..
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    Rntr- Will keep you posted. Please do likewise. Good luck!
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    I am also looking into this transition. I just finished the first interview with recruiter. My next one is with a MD. Can you please help me with what kind of questions I should be prepared for? It is a outpatient urgent clinic. Thank you!!!
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    ttt-n-
    I was asked questions about dealing with difficult people & how I handle it. They gave me a bunch of scenarios to triage into emergent/urgent/non-urgent. Asked, "Why you would like the job?" They asked about my background, and skills set. Good luck in your next interview. Hope it goes well!
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    Was your interview a two part process? I was contacted and it will be a medical director interviewing me.


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