Reply To: Telephone Triage

  • Kristine Rogers

    December 4, 2019 at 11:32 am

    ​Hi All:
    In our clinic, I assign one RN (with certification) to the phones each day.  The nurses rotate through 3 roles (triage, primary and back-up).  The phone nurse works from 8:00-5:00 and takes all the clinical calls that come in.  If it is a matter necessitating a provider’s input, we have a clinic Provider every day and that person is consulted between patient visits.  We loosely follow the APHON telephone triage guidelines though are a small enough clinic that we know every patient and family which really helps the process run smoothly.  We have no MA’s in the practice at all.  We have one C.N.A. who does vitals, rooms patients and cleans rooms.  We also have one Child Life Specialist who assists nurses and providers with assessments and procedures.  We also have a robust social work staff so that every family sees a social worker with the provider at every visit to clinic.  This model is working very well for us in terms of proactively working with patients and families from a medical and psychosocial standpoint.  We have seen a drop in crisis management and our satisfaction scores have gone up.  Happy to discuss any of the details further.
    Kristine Rogers, MSN, RN
    Maine Children’s Cancer Program
    Maine Medical Center
    Clinical Manager
    Portland, Maine

    Kristine Rogers, MSN RN Clinical Manager, Maine Children’s Cancer Program
    Original Message:
    Sent: 12-04-2019 11:23 AM
    From: Marcia Bettenhausen
    Subject: Telephone Triage

    We struggle as well.  We have a scheduler (scheduling concerns)  and one nurse (RN triage) assigned to the phones and ideally go to the primary oncologist……….​ in all reality it is the RN figuring out urgency and getting whichever provider can respond in the most appropriate time frame.

    Marcia Bettenhausen, BSN,CPHON,RN
    Fargo, ND

    Original Message:
    Sent: 10-02-2019 03:58 PM
    From: Carrie Orlebeke
    Subject: Telephone Triage

    We are looking at ​different models of who triages parent phone calls during clinic hours. Currently our non-urgent calls go to our nurse clinicians for the specific team. All urgent calls (Fever) go to our lead/ outpatient charge nurse. We are finding out that our nurse clinicians are becoming overwhelmed with phone calls during clinic and can slow clinic flow down. We were wondering what other outpatient clinics do to manage their parent phone calls.

    Do you have one dedicated person that takes all parent calls for the day?

    If so, is it the same person every day?

    Is it a RN or MA?

    Do they work normal clinic hours?

    Do they follow the APHON telephone triage guidelines or other telephone guidelines?

    Is there one MD that is assigned to help triage calls with the telephone triage RN or MA? Or does the person go to the primary oncologist of the patient.

    Thank you for your time and feedback. You can also email me at

    Carrie Orlebeke, BSN,RN,BMTCN
    Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
    MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
    Outpatient RN Supervisor Day Hospital and Clinic
    Milwaukee, WI