Making better decisions during triage
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Making better decisions during triage

Susan Sanders Assistant professor of nursing, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro
Ptlene Minick Doctoral program co-ordinator, Georgia State University, Atlanta

Susan Sanders and Ptlene Minick report on a study of interactions between emergency nurses and patients, and how these affect care outcomes

Interactions between nurses and patients during triage are crucial if the urgency of patient need is to be assessed accurately. This article reports on the results of a study of emergency nurses’ perspectives and experience of triage in the United States. Findings indicate that triage encounters are multifaceted and that emergency nurses require experience as well as knowledge to make good decisions. Two themes emerged from the study’s findings: the need for nurses to connect with patients and the ability of nurses to ‘read between the lines’. Nurses who connect with patients can take more detailed histories, while those who can read between the lines can identify the salient points and subtle signs from patients. Nurses with these skills can make better triage decisions.

Emergency Nurse. 22, 6,14-19. doi: 10.7748/en.22.6.14.e1336


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 28 June 2014

Accepted: 03 September 2014