With Enterovirus and Ebola being all over the news, it is natural for parents to worry when their child gets a fever or develops cold symptoms. Nurses may think the parent is over-reacting or being too anxious, but you have to put yourself in the layman's shoes. If you had no medical education, and all the information you had was what you heard on the news or searched on the internet, you would be scared too. I mean, after all, that is how the news gets ratings. They dramatize the story.
As a triage nurse, you have to be well educated on the current medical conditions that are making their way across the country and the globe. You cannot expect to educate callers and calm their fears if you are not sure about what you are educating them on, and you have to remember, they can tell in your voice if you are confident. Nothing increases a caller's anxiety more than to speak with a nurse who is hesitant in their advice. Most likely, they will get upset with you, and even demand to speak with a physician at that point.
How do you educate yourself so that you know you are giving the correct advice? Besides following the guidelines or protocols set into place by your organization, some reliable internet sites are good ways to keep abreast on current trends and treatments. One site to reference is the CDC, and another good pediatric reference site is the American Academy of Pediatrics. When doing internet searches, please keep in mind, you want to only use credible sites.
One last point is you must be comfortable in your role. That comfort will be transmitted to the caller, and they will likely follow the advice you give if they trust you and feel you are knowledgeable in your discussions.