Late Response to CEN35 re: triage method

Specialties Emergency



You remind me of one of the nurses in my ED, his name is also Rick and it seems your personalities are similar.

Anyway, I am not a nurse but a student nurse and a registration clerk. Our triage system is not so great. We are a small rural hospital but have a large geriatric community and have an ever increasing number of patients due to the military base nearby (they recently closed the naval hospital there and only have an oupt clinic during regular office hours).

Anyway, upon arriving from POV the pt approaches my desk, and I will get very basic information such as name, date of birth, and family doctor and write it on the triage form. I also write the time of arrival for time tracking purposes. We are always supposed to have an RN in the triage area, but many times he or she is covering for another nurse, or helping with something. If she is not in the area, we have an overhead paging system where we call for a triage.

The RN takes vitals, assess pt, assigns priority. If the patient is able, he or she will come back to my desk and be registered. If the patient is not able, they will be taken right back into a room and one of us will follow with a laptop after the patient has been settled in and seen by the MD.

Its not a bad system, but the triage area is poorly designed, and our ED is not able to handle large numbers of patients without being overwhelmed.

I know I'm not a nurse yet, but that's my input.

Hope it helps?

Take care,


(Rebecca) :rolleyes:

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.


Wow! Another response from 9 months after the post. I finished with my project, and wrote up what I thought would potentially the way to go. Almost a year later, and they finally put it into place. Prior to this, registration ahd a hand held walkie talkie, they could contact the triage nurse at anytime. they could let them know what the complaint was at that time. They would ethn opt to let registration finish with the patient or come out right away and see and/or bring them in back ans start treatment on them immediately.

we are now using a different process. A paramedic, is in the waiting room/registration area at all times. He/she gets their complaint upon arrival....and it is to be determined if they can register and be treated after, or if their condition s/sx warrant immediate placement (when all the beds are full). When we have open beds, he has the triage nurse walk them to their room, where he/she gets all the info and VS etc. The paramedic remains out there for the new patients arriving. When we are packed, the paramedic is supposed to re-assess all the patients waiting. The paramedic, triage nurse, charge nurse and registration all have walkie talkies with them during this time also.

Thanks for the response! :)

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