Monday, January 24, 2011


Mentoring....Traditionally, mentoring might have been described as the activities conducted by a person (the mentor) for another person (the mentee) in order to help that other person to do a job more effectively and/or to progress in their career. The mentor was probably someone who had "been there, done that" before. A mentor might use a variety of approaches, eg, coaching, training, discussion, counseling, etc.
One thing I have learned, is that to be an effective mentor, you have to have the same level of interest, commitment, and confidence in your own abilities as the person you are teaching. And, you truly have to be interested in seeing someone else grow in their abilities. It is hard work, but you get the satisfaction of seeing someone else grow and become successful in their endeavors, and that is satisfaction that you cannot put a price tag on.
Telephone triage nursing is a highly specialized field that too many nurses do not succeed in if they do not have a mentor to nurture them and see them through the learning process. And, really, you need someone who is not just a preceptor, but someone who truly fits the mentoring role.
When searching for that perfect mentor to teach you the ins and outs of Triage Nursing, look for the following qualities:
1. Experience- how can they teach you, if they have not "been there and done that"?
2. Character- your mentor should be a person that you respect and admire.
3. Similar Goals- it helps when your mentor has already gone through similar work that you have in front of you.
4. Availability- your mentor should be available for interaction.
5. Open-minded- your mentor should allow you to progress in ways you need to progress, not necessarily like them.
6. Caring- a mentor needs to care about your success as much as you do.
7. Positive- you need a mentor to be positive to keep you positive. If you spend enough time around them, it rubs off.
8. Focus- you need a mentor who is not only able to focus on you and what you would like to achieve, but also helps you focus.
9. Believes in you- a mentor believes in your potential. If they are not sold on you, they are not going to put all their efforts into your success.
10. Open and Honest- builds credibility and trust. It is beneficial when you both can share bits and pieces about yourself that others may not know.

This is only a guide in what to look for to get you through this learning process. You can add and subtract from these qualities when looking for someone to mold you into becoming a real "telephone triage nurse".

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Benefits of Nursing Triage Services

What is a Nurse Telephone Triage?


Kurt Duncan

A nurse telephone triage service is a feature offered in some clinics or hospitals that let patients ask certain medical questions of experienced nurses.  However, a triage is about more than just a general Q&A.  These nurses have to be experienced and educated enough to make a cautious recommendation without seeing the patient in person.  Therefore, nurses must rely on their communication skills.  They may be asked to determine disease symptoms, or make treatment recommendations, provided the matter doesn’t immediately require a physician.  In addition to having good conversation qualities, a triage nurse must also have good listening skills so that she can ascertain any non-verbal communication that may be happening in a given call.

A nurse telephone triage is usually offered by healthcare facilities and perhaps by a physician\'s office directly.  Ideally, the patient would like to contact the doctor, but may be content to share information with the nurse.  These phone lines are often kept open “after hours” in the event of an emergency.  It should be noted that while nurses have to be perceptive about individual cases, they cannot diagnose clients over the phone.  Basically, the nurse telephone triage has the obligation to determine the severity of the caller’s complaint and then direct the caller to the appropriate emergency service.

Have you ever considered starting a nurse telephone triage line for your practice?  It may help tremendously, especially if you have patients that can never seem to “relax” and find it necessary to call you ten times a day.  Not that you devalue their business; but some patients may worry to an excessive degree.  If this is true of many of your clientele then you can certainly see the advantage in starting a nurse telephone triage line. 

Instead of hiring three or four staff members for a nurse telephone triage, you can always outsource the work to a medical call center.  Medical call centers are a step above the ordinary call center; these operators are trained in the medical field and meet HIPAA requirements.  This option allows you to delegate some of your authority to a qualified nurse—and without having to pay an additional salary.  You simply pay for the service.

You do owe your patients a great deal.  Sure, it would be nice to be “on call” 24 hours a day for their needs.  You can’t provide that on your own.  However, working with an outsourced nurse telephone triage does provide your patients with additional care.