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CRANAplus Q&A: “I have been asked if I am competent at triage. Is a certificate all I need?”

8 Apr 2024

Triage requirements vary significantly across different healthcare settings, encompassing distinctions between state services, health districts, and individual practices. Notably, there is no universal set of ‘national triage requirements’, and each institution may have its own standards.

Shan­nan Lewis, Clin­i­cal Edu­ca­tion Man­ag­er, CRANAplus

Even with­in a sin­gle facil­i­ty, there can be diver­gent cri­te­ria for per­ma­nent staff com­pared to trav­el or agency staff. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion expec­ta­tions fur­ther com­pound this diver­si­ty, rang­ing from a mere cer­tifi­cate to evi­dence of demon­strat­ed triage expe­ri­ence, often sup­port­ed by ref­er­ences or posi­tion statements.

It is cru­cial to select a triage course that aligns with the Emer­gency Triage Edu­ca­tion Kit (ETEK), a teach­ing resource craft­ed by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment Depart­ment of Health and Aged Care. This resource is instru­men­tal in ensur­ing the con­sis­tent appli­ca­tion of the Aus­tralasian Triage Scale (ATS) across var­i­ous health ser­vices. The ATS utilis­es a scor­ing sys­tem of 1 to 5, assigned based on a con­cise yet com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment, to deter­mine the clin­i­cal urgency of patients pre­sent­ing at emer­gency departments.

All ETEK pro­gram resources are acces­si­ble online for free, offer­ing a com­pre­hen­sive guide­line, a quick ref­er­ence guide, and a work­book (sub­ject to peri­od­ic reviews, with poten­tial new edi­tions). While these resources serve as valu­able tools for knowl­edge acqui­si­tion and refresh­ment, it’s impor­tant to note that the web­site doesn’t issue com­ple­tion records or cer­tifi­cates. Instead, the pri­ma­ry pur­pose of these free resources is to pro­vide edu­ca­tors with a reli­able source for ensur­ing con­sis­ten­cy in teach­ing deliv­ery.
CRANAplus, recog­nis­ing the diverse needs of health­care pro­fes­sion­als, pro­vides triage learn­ing through both online and face-to-face formats.

Our one-day Triage Emer­gency Care’ course, root­ed in the ETEK, caters specif­i­cal­ly to nurs­es, gen­er­al prac­ti­tion­ers, and oth­er health­care pro­fes­sion­als. This course empha­sis­es the appli­ca­tion of ETEK prin­ci­ples in rur­al, remote, and iso­lat­ed set­tings, empow­er­ing prac­ti­tion­ers to con­fi­dent­ly assess patients and apply the ATS for appro­pri­ate triage categorisation. 

Addi­tion­al­ly, CRANAplus offers the online Triage Emer­gency Care – Inten­sive’ course, which com­bines self-paced mod­ules with online work­shops to allow par­tic­i­pants to engage in prac­tice sce­nar­ios with a focus on rur­al and remote health­care principles.

Con­sid­er­ing the impor­tance of prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence, CRANAplus strong­ly rec­om­mends super­vised triages for clin­i­cians who have com­plet­ed cer­ti­fi­ca­tion but lack prac­ti­cal expe­ri­ence. This entails the real-world appli­ca­tion of triage skills under the guid­ance of expe­ri­enced triage nurses. 

Fur­ther­more, because triage is a fre­quent­ly audit­ed area, ensur­ing you have the appro­pri­ate knowl­edge and prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion is essen­tial to ensure safe prac­tice and pos­i­tive patient outcomes.

You can find out more about CRANAplus’ triage cours­es here:

Have a ques­tion about work­ing in remote health that you’d like answered in the mag­a­zine? Email your ques­tions to communications@​crana.​org.​au

We’ll fea­ture select­ed ques­tions in the mag­a­zine and arrange for an expe­ri­enced RAN or expert to answer your ques­tion in an upcom­ing edition.