Telephone triage nurses are challenged by many similar facets of today's health care arena as are all professionals. Telenurses are forging through new and uncharted territory in many ways and are constantly discovering new ways to improve the quality of the care delivered and ways to maintain those skills already mastered. Telenurses find that networking with others involved in this specialty is an essential survival skill. They also must use their innate ability to remain flexible and focused.
Staying focused on the patient condition is essential to defuse anxious, angry, or hostile callers. The telenurse must rely on a mix of empathy, strength, knowledge, crisis intervention, and ultimate communication skills in order to appropriately assess the patient situation and deliver the proper information to the caller. If the telenurse begins to falter and feel personally attacked by the caller's anxiety, the overall call will become ineffective, risk a poor patient outcome, and often result in a patient complaint to the call center or facility.
Telenurses must be proactive in meeting their own needs from moment to moment while on the job. To stay at top performance for 100% of the calls taken, telenurses must create a user-friendly environment for themselves. Proper adjustment of the monitor, keyboard, chair, desk, books and all other work supplies is essential. Telenurses often need personal comforts such as a ready glass of water, quick snack, box of tissues, or cough drops in a hurry, yet are immobilized by the tethering of their head set or insufficient time to run to their locker for such necessities. Stress reducing items such as stress balls, palm size toys, or doodle pads are important to have for those moments when extra energy needs a place to be released in a hurry.