Wednesday, July 11, 2007
This presentation is part of : Evidence-Based Acute Care Initiatives
The Experiences of the Emergency Triage Nurse:
Rita A. Dello Stritto, RN, PhD, CNS, ENP, College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX, USA
Learning Objective #1: The learner will be able to discribe the factors that influence triage decision making.
Learning Objective #2: The learner will be able to discuss how intuition influcence triage decision making.

The purpose of the study was to explore the phenomena of the experiences of the emergency triage nurse, and how triage nurses manage their diverse role. A total of 10 triage nurses working in emergency departments (EDs) through out Southeast Texas voluntarily participated in this study. The sample consisted of three men and seven women. Two participants worked in a rural setting, two in an urgent care/minor emergency department, two in suburban settings, and four in urban emergency departments. Semi-structured audio taped interviews were used to obtain data. The interview questions were open ended and used to elicit information about triage experiences. Probative questions were utilized throughout the interview process to gain more information from the participant. Each interview was transcribed verbatim from the audio-tapes. Transcripts of the interviews were read and reread numerous times in order to gain an understanding of the essence of emergency triage nursing. Two major facets of triage nursing emerged: Roles of the Triage Nurse and Decision Making. The roles of triage nursing encompassed rituals used to start the triage shift, the process of triaging, the control aspects of gate keeping for the emergency department, and serving as the complaint department for all who were unhappy about the perceived obstacles to receiving prompt care. Triage decision making was directly influenced by the volume of patients needing to be seen, the fear of a decision making errors, and the role that intuition played in ways in which nurses responded to their gut feeling for emergent situations.