Triage Nursing in Family Practice


Hi. I would like to know if there are any RN's doing triage ONLY in family health or community health clinics and what are the advantages and disadvantages of this specialty.

I know the hours are good, but otherwise what are the challenges and advantages.

I found a job as a triage nurse in community or family practice setting. I did ask questions during the interview, but I think I missed something. I was quite anxious.

I'm now questioning my decision to leave my employer of numerous years and taking a risk. I have done some triage, but the family practice center would include triage for some pediatric and maternity patients. I do not have experience in this area. It does not appear the community clinic has specific software to triage. Nurses refers to a book with triage advice as needed. Of course, I do understand that nothing is as good as experience, but they tell me I will learn with practice. I was informed that I could research protocols in a triage family practice book.

I look forward to leaving a very stressful job with on call and strong emphasis on quality management of very non compliant patient's. The focus of quality which may effect reimbursement, the QAI initiatives and spreadsheets and overkill is taking a toll on my nerves. We are evaluated and graded on quality outcomes with my present employer.

I asked about training in the community health clinic and was informed the training would depend on how fast I learn. So I came here to see if any nurses could fill in the pieces and enlighten me a little about what I may be getting into. Thanks for any tidbit of information you can provide.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

4,458 Posts

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

Do it. You learn as you go and if in doubt just grab a doc or NP and run it by them.


370 Posts

I did triage in a large family practice clinic along with many other duties. There was no software but we used the Briggs Telephone Triage book which I highly recommend. We also had an OB book and Peds book but I can not remember the authors. I Would insist on having these available so you have justification for and can reference your actions. It will get easier for you but take I would take the challenge. It sounds like you are ready for a change.

Specializes in Registered Nurse. Has 28 years experience.

Thanks for the book suggestion.


370 Posts

Everywhere does not use triage software. It can be very expensive and most office settings do not have it. It is an important question to ask in an interview.

Specializes in Registered Nurse. Has 28 years experience.

Again, thanks everyone for your response. I did not expect a response. is the best place to find about anything nursing related. I ordered the Briggs book from Amazon and will look into Triage Nurse Career-All Things required to know.


18 Posts

Specializes in Internal Med, Primary Care, Ambulatory. Has 15 years experience.

I'm an office RN at a family practice location, spending at least 75% of my time on triage via phone, email/patient portal, and the oh-so-frequent walk-in patients. My background is internal med/adult med, so I've still got some learning to do when it comes to Peds. We do have EMR decision support tools, which are great. Similar to using Briggs or other protocol books, but easily documented directly in a patient's chart-very little typing. For the most part, I enjoy this line of work. It is using our RN critical thinking skills, as well as assessment skills, to help people get the right care.

Specializes in Registered Nurse. Has 28 years experience.

Thanks for the information BDOGGRN, ADN. The provider I plan to work for does not have the EMR decision tools, but I have purchased the Briggs book.

Hello...I worked as a Family Practice triage nurse for about 13 months, it got boring fast, and sitting in a chair all day drove me crazy, not to mention I gained some weight. Seemed like we always had the same patients calling day after day...the patients who wanted their narcotics and wanted them NOW! The job wasn't for me, but best wishes to you!

Specializes in Registered Nurse. Has 28 years experience.

Thank You for your opinion DistrictNurse19. Quiet and boring sounds good to me. However, I just started my triage job at the community health clinic and it is actually quiet hectic. The amount of emails and calls in a day is incredible. Right now, it's more of a challenge than I wanted, but I hope is gets boring soon. I have experienced 28 years of nursing, the last 7 have been very stressful, and I'm ready for some relief. I took a huge pay cut and risk. I sure hope I played my cards right.