Triage in Primary Care

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  • Specializes in ER, ICU. Ambulatory. Has 37 years experience.
Triage in Primary Care

My clinic wants nurses to do telephone and in person triage when there is no medical provider on the premises.  I am wondering of this is within  an RN scope. I know that a local medical center does not allow nurses to answer phones without an in duty provider, but I can't find a source to document this. 

Please advise.

Hoosier_RN, MSN

3,795 Posts

Specializes in dialysis. Has 30 years experience.
Ta Jo said:

My clinic wants nurses to do telephone and in person triage when there is no medical provider on the premises.  I am wondering of this is within  an RN scope. I know that a local medical center does not allow nurses to answer phones without an in duty provider, but I can't find a source to document this. 

Please advise.

Look at your state scope of practice. But just in general, I would guess no

Wuzzie

5,042 Posts

In person...no. Telephone should be fine as long as you have a covering provider. 

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dianah, ASN

9 Articles; 3,833 Posts

Specializes in RETIRED Cath Lab/Cardiology/Radiology. Has 48 years experience.
Wuzzie said:

In person...no. Telephone should be fine as long as you have a covering provider. 

AND lots of written protocols.

klone, MSN, RN

14,580 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Our triage nurses work from home, so...

Ta Jo, BSN

3 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU. Ambulatory. Has 37 years experience.

Thanks. If anyone knows where I can get any guidelines,  I'd be grateful.  I've written to my BON so maybe they can clarify for me.

klone, MSN, RN

14,580 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Check out Schmitt-Thompson protocols. They're very commonly used triage protocols for pretty much everything.

klone, MSN, RN

14,580 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Also, every organization I've worked for has had a set of protocols and standing orders for things that RNs can do independently for in-person triage, and it does not require an MD/LIP to be present in the building.

It absolutely CAN be done, you just need to have very specific written guidelines for WHICH things an RN can do/see/triage independently, written protocols/decision tree for how handle it ("if X, then Z"), and in what circumstances the RN needs to either bring in an LIP for consult, or call EMS for an ambulance trip to the nearest ED.

Ta Jo, BSN

3 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU. Ambulatory. Has 37 years experience.

Thank you.