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Emergency nurses working with Manchester Triage - The impact of nursing experience on patient safety.

Journal article
Authors Berit Forsman
Susanne Forsgren
Eric Carlström
Published in Australiasian Emergency Nursing Journal
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 100-107
ISSN 1574-6267
Publication year 2012
Published at
Pages 100-107
Language en
Keywords Triage, Experience, Patient security, Nursing, Sweden
Subject categories Other Medical Sciences, Other Social Sciences


Background There is in Sweden an ongoing debate about the extent to which the practice of triage contributes to patient safety. This paper reports the findings of a study of nurses’ perceptions of the impact of experience and safety of the Manchester Triage System (MTS) within emergency departments in Western Sweden. Methods Data was collected from 74 triage nurses using a questionnaire containing 37 short form questions of Likert-type, analyzed descriptively and measured the covariance. Data was also collected with two open questions by using the critical incident technique and content analysis. Results The results described that the combination of the MTS method, the nurses’ experience and organizational factors accounted for 65% of patient safety. The study indicated that nurses’ experience contributed to higher patient safety than the model itself. A standardized assessment model, like MTS, can rarely capture all possible symptoms, as it will always be constrained by a limited number of keywords and taxonomies. It cannot completely replace the skills an experienced nurse develops over many years in the profession. Conclusions The present study highlights the value of triage nurse's experience. The participants considered experience to contribute to patient safety in emergency departments. A standardized triage model should be considered as additional support to the skills an experienced nurse develops.

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