Triage, a process to determine illness severity, is implemented by emergency nurses to prioritize treatment and provide care for a maximum number of patients using limited resources. The competency of emergency nurses and a highly reliable triage are crucial for the provision of emergency care. Pediatric patients are different from adult patients in certain aspects, such as growth-phase characteristics, communication ability, and the onset of disease; these aspects often pose challenges during their primary triage. This study explored how emergency nurses triage pediatric patients using the Korean Triage and Acuity Scale.
Eleven emergency nurses (N = 11) working in the pediatric emergency department of a university hospital in Seoul, South Korea, were recruited using purposive sampling methods. Phenomenography was used to investigate the strategies by which these nurses use the Korean Triage and Acuity Scale to triage pediatric patients.
The findings comprised 2 descriptive categories: 6 approaches on how to triage patients (categories of how) and 3 strategies (categories of what) used by pediatric emergency nurses to triage pediatric patients with the Korean Triage and Acuity Scale.
The experience and proficiency of emergency nurses are essential factors for the effective triage of pediatric patients. Our findings qualitatively elucidate different ways of understanding pediatric triage and indicate the need for pediatric triage education programs.
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Ji Ae Yoon is a Nurse, Department of Nursing, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, South Korea. ORCID identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5654-2296.
Boo Hyo Park is a Nurse, Department of Nursing, Korea University Guro Hospital, Seoul, South Korea. ORCID identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1453-202X.
Sung Ok Chang is Professor, College of Nursing, and BK21 FOUR R and E Center for Learning Health Systems, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. ORCID identifier: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2710-4291.
Published online: November 21, 2022
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