Telephone traige is a sytem by which a pt. can call and contact a Telephone Triage RN who will acess level of problem, determine acuity, determine dispoisition -911, ED via POV, ICS, UC, Home tx, F/'U tommorow. Triage Nurse will also give instructions such s for croup in absence of fever 15-20 minutes steam in BR, sittin gin front of open fridge 15-20 minutes or letting the pt. suck on a popsickel. Instructions may be to take Nitro or ASA or Tylenol. Quite often after triaging a Post op pt. we do a quick phone consultation with a surgeon and follow his orders based on what we relate to him.
All of our assesment questions/protocols are specific to individual problems such as Chest pain protocol or Pregnancy < 20 weeks Protocol. Our assesment and instructions are very well organized and developted by our physicians and Nurses and confiorm to comunity standards in Nursing.
We always tell the pt. "As a Nurse I don't diagnose but based upon your symptoms my reccomendation is..............
We also determine where to send pt. if he needs to be seen. We have to check what hospital system/insurance he hs, his location, time frames to get to facility, check if facility is still open etc, At times we are requitred to verify insuarnce coverage. This wastes 2-3 minutes of time.
The main goal of our service is to get the pt. to the "CORRECT" level of care that he needs. Why run into the ED and be there 5-10 hrs or more for a sprained ankle when you can be seen at UC quicker and cheaper or perhaps not ecven require getting seen tonight and perhaps gget seen in am.