Understanding triage assessment of acuity by emergency nurses at initial adult patient presentation: A qualitative systematic review

Gorick, Hugh ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3089-9830, McGee, Marie, Wilson, Gemma, Williams, Emma, Patel, Jaimik, Zonato, Anna, Ayodele, Wilfred, Shams, Sabina, Di Battista, Luca and Smith, Toby O. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1673-2954 (2023) Understanding triage assessment of acuity by emergency nurses at initial adult patient presentation: A qualitative systematic review. International Emergency Nursing, 71. ISSN 1755-599X

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Background: Nurses make complex triage decisions within emergency departments, which significantly affect patient outcomes. Understanding how nurses make these decisions and why they deviate from triage algorithms facilitates interventions that work with their decision-making processes, increasing acceptability and effectiveness. Aims: This qualitative systematic review aimed to understand decision-making processes emergency nurses use to make acuity decisions during triage assessment at initial patient presentation. Methodology: Medline, CINAHL and Academic Search Complete were systematically searched to 15th December 2022. Data were analysed using thematic synthesis. Established themes were reviewed with GRADE-CERQual to evaluate certainty of evidence. Results: 28 studies were included in the review. Data analysis uncovered three superordinate themes of holistic reasoning, situational awareness, and informed decision-making. The findings show nurses value holistic assessments over algorithms and rely on knowledge and experience. They also assess the wider situation in the emergency department. Conclusions: This review presents new perspectives on nurses’ decision-making processes about patient’s acuity. Nurses holistically gather information about patients before translating that information into acuity scores. These actions are informed by their knowledge and experience; however, the wider situation also impacts their decisions. In turn, the nurses use interpretations of patients’ acuity to control the wider situation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: triage,nurses,emergency department,systematic review,emergency ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2900/2907
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Population Health
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2023 08:31
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2023 03:37
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/92596
DOI: 10.1016/j.ienj.2023.101334


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