As an industry, telephone triage nursing is one of today’s fastest-growing occupations. This is mainly due to the career’s ability to provide high-quality healthcare service to those living in rural areas and other places outside of the immediate reach of health facilities.
For many people, telephones are their only means of reaching medical aid when they need it most, and to them, TTNs are lifesavers.
If you’re considering pursuing a career in this field, you might be wondering what your typical day looks like.
Regardless of its virtual capabilities, This work can be stressful at times, so it’s crucial to be able to solve problems effectively and remain calm under pressure. It’s also essential to possess compassion and a desire to help people with health problems despite the lack of visual cues associated with direct patient care.
Learn more about what this career entails below!
What’s a Telephone Triage Nurse?
A Telephone Triage Nurse (TTN) is a healthcare professional who specialises in over-the-phone consultations with patients needing care. They assist patients in determining if they require emergency care, a later visit to the doctor, or whether they can treat themselves. This often entails chatting with patients over the phone, giving them medical advice, examining and assessing their symptoms, and consulting with doctors as required.
Telephone Triage Nurses are invaluable to patients without access to a doctor or who reside in a rural section of the world. TTNs are trained to ask precise questions to correctly assess their health and decide the amount and how promptly treatment is required.
Duties and responsibilities
Telephone triage nurses are typically required to work around the clock — 24 hours every day and seven days every week. As a result, they may be expected to work irregular hours, including night shifts.
The duties and responsibilities of a telephone triage nurse include:
- Holding phone and video consultations with patients
- Providing medical advice to persons who have minor/common health problems
- Educate patients about alternative methods of symptom management
- Schedule medical appointments and direct patients to doctors, community services, experts, or other organisations.
- Develop a care plan that includes necessary follow-up measures.
- Use computerised monitoring to remotely access patient records and evaluate a database of potential illnesses, relevant symptoms, and proven therapies.
- Help lower workload for medical teams.
- Assist medical emergency teams in coordinating and transporting patients to the hospital.
- Evaluate the intensity of a patient’s illness quickly before proposing a suitable degree of care centred on all available information.
- Efficiently triaging patients depending on the employer’s criteria.
Where do telephone triage nurses work?
Telephone triage nursing is becoming a common choice for nurses, thanks to the flexibility of working from home.
Regardless of the work-from-home capabilities of the career, TTNs are most commonly seen working in dedicated triage centres.
Other settings you may most likely find telephone triage nurses include:
- Doctor’s offices
- Trauma centres
- Managed care
- Crisis hotlines
- COVID-19 hotlines
- Poison control centres
- Outpatient care centres
Getting a job as a telephone triage is as easy as ever, with free platforms like Velju dedicating resources to help old and fresh TTNs get hired by employers without even having to apply for jobs.
How to become a telephone triage nurse
Here is a step-by-step process to becoming a telephone triage nurse.
Graduate with a Nursing Degree
To become a telephone triage nurse, you must first get a nursing degree from an accredited program. You may earn either an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Depending on where you are in the pursuit of your career, this may take 2-4 years.
Become a Registered Nurse
Start practising as a Registered Nurse (RN) by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) or the equivalent in your country.
The licensure examination is possibly the most critical milestone for prospective registered nurses.
After passing the licensure exam, you can then apply for your licence to practice nursing.
Gain Clinical Experience as an RN
Fresh graduates are rarely employed immediately for telephone triage nursing positions.
Before working as a telephone triage nurse, you must have at least 2,000 hours (in 2 years) experience as a clinical nurse. Most nurses practising as TTNs have previously worked in an emergency department as ER nurse or intensive care as PACU Nurse in a hospital.
Earn Your Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (AMB-BC)
Since 2007, there has been no official certification for Telephone Triage Nurses. So instead, TTNs seeking certification are urged to get certified as ambulatory care nurses.
You must pass the Ambulatory Care Nursing Certification (AMB-BC) exam to earn this certificate.
Want to explore more job opportunities in the nursing field? Read about Registered Medical Assistant.
Telephone triage nurse salary
The average salary TTNs earn in the UK ranges from £33,409 to £58,119 per year. Entry-level telephone triage nurses earn about £33,409 every year. Experienced telephone triage nurses with a bachelor’s degree or higher can earn up to £58,119 annually. In addition to competitive salaries, most employers offer benefits such as paid time off and medical insurance.
Below are the average salaries of telephone triage nurses in other European countries:
Germany: €60, 316 (EUR)
Denmark: 566.426 KR. (DKK) equivalent to €76, 113
Luxembourg: €83, 096 (EUR)
France: €53, 461
Switzerland: CHF 88, 179 (CHF) equivalent to €84, 697
The three triage categories are;
Immediate category: This category requires emergency life-saving care.
Urgent category: This category needs effective treatment as soon as possible.
Non-urgent category: This category will require medical attention, but not immediately.
Yes, a triage nurse is a registered nurse.