An exploration of accident and emergency nurse experiences of triage decision making in Hong Kong

Accid Emerg Nurs. 2005 Oct;13(4):206-13. doi: 10.1016/j.aaen.2005.08.003. Epub 2005 Sep 30.


This study used a descriptive qualitative design to explore emergency nurse experiences of decision making about triage in Hong Kong. Seven experienced nurses who were working in three different accident and emergency departments participated in the study. Unstructured interviews were used to provide the nurses with opportunities to describe their experiences. The findings fall into three main categories, including the experience of triage decision making, the use of information in the triage decision-making process, and the factors that influence triage decision making. Although the experience of triage was generally positive, the nurses felt frustrated and uncertain in some circumstances. In addition, triage decision making was influenced by a series of factors that occur in daily practice. The findings of this study have implications for the development of formal triage training and triage decision-making protocols in accident and emergency nursing. They also provide positive reinforcement and support to triage nurses that will enhance their ability to make decisions about triage. Avenues for further research in the area are recommended.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Decision Making*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing
  • Emergency Nursing / education
  • Emergency Nursing / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Frustration
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Intuition
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Triage / organization & administration*