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Nurse triage in theory and in practice.
  1. S George,
  2. S Read,
  3. L Westlake,
  4. B Williams,
  5. P Pritty,
  6. A Fraser-Moodie
  1. Department of Public Health Medicine, University of Sheffield Medical School.

    Abstract

    'Nurse Triage' refers to the formal process of early assessment of patients attending an accident and emergency (A&E) department by a trained nurse, to ensure that they receive appropriate attention, in a suitable location, with the requisite degree of urgency. The benefits claimed for nurse triage include better patient outcomes, through clinical management reaching those in greatest need of it first. A recent study of nurse triage in a British A&E department failed to demonstrate the benefits claimed: patients undergoing triage were delayed, especially those in the most urgent groups. No differences were noted between the two study groups in levels of satisfaction with the A&E process. The results brought forth criticism from all quarters. In this paper the points made by the critics are considered, and an attempt to answer them is made.

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