Telephone Triage Is Not Right for Everyone

You may be considering a remote telephone triage position, and don’t know if it is the right fit for you. Telework nursing is not for everyone, and the characteristics of a successful remote employee should be considered.

Many people are very social and need considerable interaction with co-workers to remain happy in their position and to feel fulfilled. Telephone triage would not be an ideal position for those who thrive on social interaction on a daily basis. On the other hand, it is usually not a good fit for those who describe themselves as loners either. An isolated environment, such as the telephone triage role, could be detrimental to a nurse who already is limited themselves with social contact. It would   exacerbate pre-existing social problems.  Telephone triage is ideal for those nurses who enjoy working alone, but do not limit themselves from having contact with others.

Telephone triage nurses need to be self-starters. They must possess a strong work ethic and not require close supervision to get the job done. Working remotely does not mean a chance to fool around or that there is no pressure. Experienced, remote telephone triage nurses understand this. The entire system would not function without self-starters in these positions.

Telephone triage nurses must be technology competent. Working remotely requires you must be proficient in the use of computers as it is required for the job and communication. This could include specialized software programs, instant messaging, desk-top faxing, emails and appointments functions, tele web conferencing and any other tools that the nurse may be required to use. The successful telephone triage nurse is not afraid of technology, because if something goes wrong, they must be able to trouble shoot it and know how to fix it or where to go for help.

There is not a specific minimum number of years’ experience that one would say is required to work in a remote telephone triage experience. However, new graduates would not be a good fit for such a position, because it requires competence, expertise and knowledge beyond that which is obtained in a basic nursing program.  Research has shown that triage assessments are done better by those with more experience, more education, and more training. Interesting also, researchers have suggested that extensive life experience such as raising kids, caring for aging parents, and running a household may also be valuable.

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