I WANT to do this, how do I start??

Specialties Triage


Hi everyone,

I am currently working as a RN on a Med/Surg unit. I have worked M/S for a little over three years now and I am feeling very discouraged with my job. I have always kept telephone triaging in the back of my head because I thought it sounded like something I would like. Recently, I have been looking more and more into it....and have come to the conclusion that "this is what I want to do". Now....I have a ADN degree, does anyone think it would be beneficial to obtain my BSN?? Also...what other special requirements do you think I would need? I was also thinking of enrolling in a long distance Legal nurse consultant program, do you think this would be of any benefit? I live in Wisconsin, but Minneapolis/St. Paul is a fairly short drive for me. I'm assuming that most of the jobs are in large metro areas??? Anyone have a job for me??? LOL I love computers, internet, etc. and find myself to be pretty proficient with them....sounds like that would be helpful. I probably will stick with my job for a few more years maybe...just so I can say that I have my five years in. I see a lot of other posts talked about potential tele triage nurses having CCU and/or ER experience....I don't have this...will that be bad? I mean...I've floated to these areas..but that's about it. Ok...well...sorry this is soo long and thanks to everyone for their help, in advance!

IloveSnoopy :kiss


691 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Risk Management.

In our office, we have 2 BSNs & 2 ADNs. Start checking with helath insurance companies. They often have positions...or your local children's hospital or a large teaching hospital. There are opportunities out there. Good luck to you!


754 Posts

Specializes in Everything but psych!.

Telephone triage jobs include nurses with all different backgrounds. Med/surg is good because it includes many areas. The additional degree is not necessary. However, education is never fruitless. Good luck in your search!


1,024 Posts

Where are you in WI??? I also am in WI! :D



754 Posts

Specializes in Everything but psych!.

I'm in Milwaukee. I think we talked before?


142 Posts

I like you, knew I wanted to do triage (mine is actually more disease management) nursing. I never did have the big appeal to do bedside. I always saw myself at a desk and in front of a computer.

I went into Triage with 3 1/2 yrs of med surg and tele. They taught me all the protocols that I needed to follow on the calls.

Most of it is just that following written protocols. Take a call and follow an algorrythm (sp). I can see the only time I would get into trouble is if I did not follow the algorrythm.

If they ask me a question and I dont know the answer I just put them on hold and ask one of the nurses around me...I have never had a caller give me grief for this. I think they would rather me ask then give them wrong info.


4 Posts

Start by looking up in your online search engine telephone triage. There you will find information from gurus in the industry such as Carol Stock, Sheila Wheeler, and the information about what to expect in entering the field.

Look at several options to specifically focus on Telephone advice/triage : HMOs/Managed Care, hospital based call centers, and ambulatory care or clinics. If you tend to be multi-task in nature, seeking a job in a smaller ambulatory care setting, such as a specific clinic (ie peds or family practice) will allow you to often do telephone advice along with continued direct pt. interaction.

However, it is truly multi-tasking. You will often have to do injections, procedures, place patients in rooms for clinicians, prepare in-clinic paperwork for office visits, assist with referrals, and take verbal orders from the cliinician. You will also be responsible to call back the clinician(s) patient load from voice mails or direct calls that come through the clinic during the day. While this is extemely busy, it is an excellent way to forge into the area of telephone advice/triage, get experience, and get a feel for whether you would ever like to leave hands-on patient care and sit "chained to a phone" as some call it, doing just telephone advice.

I found I love the "chained to the phone" approach. Everyone to his own liking.

Good Luck.


142 Posts

Well. I Love Snoopy are you in the telephone triage arena yet?

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