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Telephone Triage Nurse Career

How to Become a Telephone Triage Nurse

As registered nurses who offer verified telehealth treatment, telephone triage nurses provide information and assessments to patients virtually. Telephone triage nurses represent the successful result of technology and healthcare working together to reach patients, uniting clients with treatment options.

Through live video teleconferencing, telephone triage nurses provide much of the same consultation that in-person nurses can. Telephone triage nurses are fully licensed, fully accredited nurses who provide the same insight into a patient’s symptoms and outlook that patients would otherwise receive in a hospital, nursing clinic, or other medical setting.

One of the top work-from-home nursing positions available today, the role of a telephone triage nurse saves employers time and money, while allowing patients to connect remotely with expert medical professionals for advice and direction.  

Doctors are using a computer or tablet, find information on the internet for medicinal purposes.

What Is a Telephone Triage Nurse?

A telephone triage nurse will leverage live video conferencing technology in multiple ways to connect with the same clients via a new communication method. Rather than asking individuals to drive to medical offices, sit in waiting rooms, and fill out paperwork, telephone triage nurses allow for remote connections on a patient’s schedule.

Telephone triage nurses can also prerecord educational resources for their patients and can forward that recorded video messaging on to as many patients as necessary. In this way, telephone triage nurses are responsible not only for providing primary care, but for contributing to digital libraries full of useful resources for patients to use at their discretion.

Unlike the career of a typical triage nurse, a telephone triage nurse does not work in an emergency room. Rather, they often serve as a gateway, assessing basic patient needs before their in-person visit with a triage nurse begins.

Where a triage nurse might be responsible for organizing emergency room procedures, a telephone triage nurse deals primarily with remote patient care, referring them to the right room or department for in-person treatment when appropriate.

What Does a Telephone Triage Nurse Do?

A telephone triage nurse will fulfill a wide range of daily responsibilities, all of them through remote means. These individual responsibilities can include:

  • Live video teleconferencing, where nurses spend a majority of their time communicating directly with clients remotely.
  • Patient assessments, maintaining primary responsibility for basic patient intake before in-person triage staff provides treatment.
  • Recording video, for the creation and distribution of recorded educational materials to patients.
  • Patient management, the remote monitoring of patients to ensure that vitals remain steady and that immediate patient needs are met.
  • Mobile application management, the upkeep of mobile outreach applications that connect patients with medical resources and live help through hospitals and healthcare providers.

These responsibilities and others define the daily tasks for which a telephone triage nurse is responsible. Their assessments are vital when helping patients determine the next right step for care.

How Do I Become a Telephone Triage Nurse?

To become a telephone triage nurse, candidates must first complete a nursing prelicensure program or obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Once a student becomes a registered nurse (RN), they will possess the necessary understanding of medical codes, healthcare services, and the practices that make for a successful telephone triage nurse.

Additionally, a telephone triage nurse may be able to move forward in their career with an MSN degree focused on leadership and management. This degree program will give students additional experience in running a team and can help them be qualified to progress further in management roles in telephone triage.

Required Experience

In addition to the required education, telephone triage nurses must also register at least 2,000 total hours of nursing experience in clinicals. Clinicals offer hands-on training as a facet of nursing school, allowing nursing students to achieve a nursing experience in a safe environment. Completing your 2,000 hours of in-field nursing training is a major step toward achieving a career as a telephone triage nurse.

Best Degrees for Telephone Triage Nurses

Nursing (Prelicensure) – B.S.

A one-of-a-kind nursing program that prepares you to be an RN...

A one-of-a-kind nursing program that prepares you...

A one-of-a-kind nursing program that prepares you to be an RN and a baccalaureate-prepared nurse:

  • Locations: offered in FL, IN, TX, MO, and UT only.
  • Tuition and fees: $6,575 per 6-month term.

WGU offers the prelicensure program in areas where we have partnerships with healthcare employers to provide practice sites and clinical coaches to help teach you and inspire you on your path to becoming a nurse.

If you don't live in one of our prelicensure states or don't qualify to apply, consider getting our Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Coordination instead. This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry, while also working directly with patients who need help.

Nursing – Leadership and Management (RN-to-MSN) – M.S.

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a...

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and...

This program for RNs includes a BSN component and is a substantial leap toward becoming a nurse leader.

  • Time: 75% of RN-to-MSN grads finish within 42 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,795 per 6-month term during undergraduate portion, $4,385 per 6-month term during graduate portion, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
    Chief Nursing Officer
    Quality Director
    Clinical Nurse Leader
    Project Manager

If you're driven to lead, this online nursing degree will provide you everything needed to make that career a reality.

Compare degrees
This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

Compare Similar Degrees

Nursing (RN-to-BSN Online) – B.S.

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking...

An online BSN degree program for registered...

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking the added theoretical depth, employability, and respect that a bachelor's degree brings:

  • Time: 66% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition and Fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.
  • Transfers: On average, students transfer 81 credits.

With over 35,000 BSN alumni, this is one of WGU's most popular online degree programs. View our RN to BSN degree guide.

If you don't currently have an RN and don't qualify for your nursing prelicensure program, consider getting our Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Coordination instead. This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry in a unique way.

Nursing – Leadership and Management (BSN-to-MSN) – M.S.

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree who are ready for...

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree...

For registered nurses with a bachelor's degree who are ready for greater responsibility:

  • Time: 82% of grads finish within 24 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,385 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Sample careers and jobs this degree program will prepare you for:

  • Director of Nursing
    Chief Nursing Officer
    Quality Director
    Clinical Nurse Leader
    Project Manager

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical and health services managers to grow 17% by 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Compare degrees

This program is not the only degree WGU offers designed to create leaders in the field of healthcare. Compare our health leadership degrees by clicking the button below.

Compare Similar Degrees

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No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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What Skills Does a Telephone Triage Nurse Need?

Telephone triage nurses regularly put to use a wide skill set to help individually address a patient’s needs. These skills can include:

  • Interpersonal communication: the ability to listen to each patient’s individual needs and expertly pair their symptoms with appropriate levels of care.
  • Empathetic listening: the ability to communicate authentic care for a patient’s situation.
  • Integrated teamwork: the ability to work well alongside on-site doctors, nurses, and all healthcare staff to ensure that all patients are appropriately cared for.
  • Fast assessment: the ability to assess a patient’s needs and pass along all necessary details to on-site medical staff.
  • Patient evaluation: the ability to help patients identify the correct course for future action, options that include in-person medical treatment, medication management, and at-home care.
  • Technology proficiency: the ability to understand and expertly use all video conferencing platforms and digital patient assessment tools.

These skills and others make telephone triage nurses successful in connecting patients with the care they need. Despite their remote setting, telephone triage nurses are often pivotal to the on-site operations of a medical facility.

How Much Do Telephone Triage Nurses Make?

$59,376

The exact compensation of a telephone triage nurse will understandably vary, depending on factors that include employer, employer location, years of experience, and education. On average, the salary of a telephone triage nurse is $59,376.

Salaries for telephone triage nurses can vary widely, where the top 2% of earners make an estimated $97,500 and the lowest 3% make roughly $20,500 per year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?

7%

A sharp increase in the number of patients using teletherapy services likely means a parallel growth in telephone triage nurse careers. Nursing employment is expected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, an expansion rate well above occupational averages.

Aging populations also require an increase in nurses across the board, necessary to help individuals with chronic conditions like arthritis and dementia. Since many older individuals also prefer to be treated in their own homes, the need for technology in healthcare—and the services that telephone triage nurses offer—will only expand in years to come.

Where Do Telephone Triage Nurses Work?

Varies

Unlike triage nurses, telephone triage nurses can work from anywhere. Telephone triage nurses are not limited to an office or medical center, making the role one of the premiere remote healthcare positions available today.

While they might not be limited to an office, telephone triage nurses must still maintain a viable remote work environment, one characterized by a reliable internet connection and a steady means of communication. In addition, nurses accredited to work in certain states or regions must often remain in those locations when offering remote services.

Interested in Becoming a Telephone Triage Nurse?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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