Telephone Triage RNs - help!

  1. Hi guys - any of you with experience in telephone triage - what did/do you llike about it and what did/do you not like? I have an interview that I never expected to get - but I'm very excited! I just don't know what to really expect since I don't have any experience doing anything like that.

    And sidenote - I have a vacation scheduled for July. I wasn't really planning on changing jobs any time soon, but then this opportunity came up, and now I'm really excited about it! But what is the appropriate time in the interview process to bring up something like that?

    THANK YOU ALL!!!!
  2. Visit miko014 profile page

    About miko014

    Joined: Aug '06; Posts: 684; Likes: 552

    8 Comments

  3. by   klhayford
    Hi Miko014- I worked Telephone Triage part time 3 days a week for 5 years and loved it. Although you don't get the hands on experience, you definitely keep you assessment skill up to date because you learn to assess with your ears. You have to assess by description and you learn very inventive ways to get the caller to describe what is going on. You also get to do alot of teaching: CHF, COPD, Asthma, Diabetes...the main Demand Management stuff. And basic first aid, cold, seasonal allergies(congestion) and flu stuff. It was very rewarding to do follow up calls and find out your advise was followed and helped. I also received several return calls of gratitude.

    The nurses worked 1 weekend a month plus 3 holidays during the year- 2 being a major Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years Day holiday. I would still be there, but the company decided that all the nurses would have to work every other weekend. I was not willing to do that. I got into Case Management instead.

    I would not bring your vacation up until they offer you the job. Then I would let them know that you already have vacation plans and see if they will work with you. Best of Luck- it is a rewarding experience if you can take being away from patient care.
    Karri
  4. by   RNgirlie
    I am very interested in telephone triage!! what experiences do I need??

    I would put off mentioning the vaca part. Is is possible you could reschedule your vaca??
  5. by   miko014
    That's good to hear! Telephone triage was always something I had sort of considered, but I don't know anyone who has done it, nor do I have any kind of experience with it. I had been looking for a different job awhile back, and then I decided to just stick with what I have for now. It was a total surprise when I came across this opening - just a coincidence that I even saw it. I was like "eh, what the heck" and sent in my info, thinking I wouldn't get a call. Well, they did call now, and though I'm sure I probably won't get the job, I'm excited to at least know that I have a chance. I could definitely be away from the bedside - I would miss my job now, but my hands get very irritated from the gloves, and not having to wear them anymore would be paradise!!

    If you don't mind my asking, what kind of triage did you do? I mean, where did you work? Was it like an insurance comapny, or an office, or a clinic, or what? I really appreciate you giving me some input on this. Do you have time to run through what a typical day was like for you? Besides the weekend issue, was there anything you really hated about the job? Thanks again!!!!
  6. by   miko014
    Quote from RNgirlie
    I am very interested in telephone triage!! what experiences do I need??

    I would put off mentioning the vaca part. Is is possible you could reschedule your vaca??
    Well, I wouldn't HAVE to go, but we already have tickets and stuff, and they are non-refundable. So I would be out quite a bit of money, not to mention disappointing several people (including myself!!!). We timed the trip with some specific things we wanted to do, and we've been planning it for a long time. I know there's no use worrying about this now, especially since I will probably not get the job anyway, but I would hate for that to screw anything up for me.
  7. by   Magsulfate
    I did it for six months as a contract/agency nurse. It is different. If you love nursing , I'm not sure if you will be cut out for this. THis job is made for people who love to answer the phone ALL DAY and type in a computer ALL DAY. It can get very tedious and boring as heck. Also,, there are the crazies that call in that realllly will drive you crazy.

    Example of a call (and I had about 10 of these a day,, and one really good call a day) The rest are mundane.

    Caller (frantic 20 something yr old woman)- "I got a bug bite on my arm today and it is red! What do I do???"

    Me- "how big is it?"

    Caller- "my arm ? what kind of question is that?"

    Me- "how big is the bug bite on your arm?"

    Caller- "Ohhh, I don't know, I don't know how to measure it"

    Me- "Okay, would you say it's as big as a quarter? A dime? A dollar?"

    Caller- "oh no, it's much smaller than that"

    Me- "so is it as big as a pencil? or the point of a pencil?"

    Caller- "yeah, it's as big as a point on a pencil"


    Me- "okay, can you tell me what bit you?"

    Caller- "it was an ant"

    Me-

    Me- " that's how big the redness is? as big as a pencil head? Do you have any other redness or swelling in your arm?"

    Caller- "no, , what do I do??? I don't want a scar to form!!"

    Me (I want to say this, but I don't actually say it) Quick! hang up the phone and call 911 immediately!!!


    And really,, this can get frustrating as hell. But hey, you might like it.
  8. by   miko014
    Lol Magsulfate, that is too funny. I get that "in real life" all the time. People who come to the hospital for something serious get all worried about a hangnail. God bless 'em, you get the crazies everywhere lol! If it's going to be a bunch of long boring days, you're probably right, I would go nuts. I believe that the TT is just part of the job that I am interviewing for. I won't really know until I talk to them. I'm not sure when that will be, but wish me luck!!
  9. by   Ruthiegal
    Quote from miko014
    Hi guys - any of you with experience in telephone triage - what did/do you llike about it and what did/do you not like? I have an interview that I never expected to get - but I'm very excited! I just don't know what to really expect since I don't have any experience doing anything like that.

    And sidenote - I have a vacation scheduled for July. I wasn't really planning on changing jobs any time soon, but then this opportunity came up, and now I'm really excited about it! But what is the appropriate time in the interview process to bring up something like that?

    THANK YOU ALL!!!!
    For the interview be ready to answer questions about how you will handle certain scenario's. For example: A dad calls about his 5 year old who bumped her head and has a goose egg. What kind of questions would you ask, and how would you proceed. They will have protocols you will follow but be ready in the interview with common sense things like behavior, cuts, bumps or lumps, what have you done so far etc. Just do the best you can. It will be pretty basic in most cases. It's good to have some computer skills since most of your work will be done with one, documentation etc. Remember too, it is a production job so you will be expected after training etc, to do x number of calls per shift, hour, or whatever measure they use. If you get it, you may feel like a fish out of water for a while, but you eventually get your rhythm.

    I have been doing telephone triage for 8 years and love it.

    As far as your vacation, just ask if you do get hired, if arrangements can be made for you to still go. Most employers understand long standing plans and it never hurts to ask. I have seen it where I work, they get trained work a couple of weeks and then take their planned vacation or wedding time etc.

    Good Luck, relax and be yourself.

  10. by   MobileNurseSara
    I can't offer you any information on telephone triage, but as for the vacation I wouldn't mention it until you are offered a job. I have always done it this way and the employers have never seemed to mind.

    I would NOT reschedule just because you're getting a new job, most new employers are very willing to work around your schedule especially since this is something that is already planned.

close