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Who Ya Gonna Call?

By Gina Toner, RN and Jackie Berry, RN
Triage, Children's Physician Network

It's 1:07 a.m. and your child just woke up with a barking cough and noisy breathing--who ya gonna call?

A Triage Nurse!

Telephone triage is available through many clinics and insurance plans. A telephone triage service is staffed with experienced registered nurses. The majority of calls to a triage nurse are from callers who are looking for advice about minor illnesses.

Most triage services use guidelines as their primary assessment tool. The guidelines are a series of questions that help the nurse determine the severity of the symptoms. In addition to the guidelines, nurses are trained to use interview strategies, active listening and critical thinking to get all the information they need to make a recommendation of care for the patient.

In a nutshell, the primary function of the telephone triage nurse is to discuss symptoms with the caller and provide such advice as whether or not a caller shoud go to the Emergency Room or is okay to stay home.

In addition to providing triage services, the nurses have a wealth of homecare advice and general medical information at their fingertips. Triage services offer a variety of helpful information including dosing for common over the counter medications, physician referrals, appointment scheduling, clinic hours, Urgent Care referrals, and Internet resources.

Children's Physician Network (CPN) offers a 24-hour triage service staffed
with experienced RN's available through CPN affiliated pediatric clinics and a variety of other healthcare providers. Is your clinic a member of Children's Physician Network? (To see for yourself, go to Clinics4kids).

Categories: Children's Health, Health & Wellness,

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