Career Spotlight: Telephone Triage Nurse

telephone triage nurseAre you thinking about making a career change within nursing? It might be worth considering becoming a Telephone Triage Nurse! If you’re looking for a job that allows for flexible hours and relies heavily on communication, telephone triage nursing might be the new career you’re looking for.

What is a Telephone Nurse?

Telephone triage nurses, or telehealth nurses, assist patients over the phone. They can access patients’ charts online, answer patient questions and determine type of care needed.1

According to, “the goal [of telehealth nurses] is to reduce unnecessary visits to the clinic and emergency department and provide information for self-care and symptom management.”2

How do you become a Telephone Triage Nurse?

A telephone triage nurse is required to have a degree in nursing. This can either be an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Discover Nursing suggests taking elective courses in pharmacology or poison control, but it’s not required.1

Although telephone triage nursing only requires a nursing degree, you can take continuing education courses in risk and crisis management.1

How much do Telephone Triage Nurses make?

The average yearly salary for a Telephone Triage Nurse is $63,000.3

This of course is dependent upon the type of degree you have, where you are working and multiple other factors.

What does a normal day look like for a Telephone Triage Nurse?

According to Beth from Chron some Telephone Triage Nurses work in call centers, and others include telephone triage as just one of many other tasks. “Telephone triage might occur in hospital emergency rooms, as well as in doctors’ offices and at clinics.”4

This type of nursing allows for more flexible hours – a definite plus. Some Telephone Triage Nurses even work from home.

While these nurses will come across many different patients, their days consistently revolve around conversations and critical thinking. By listening to their patients, Telephone Triage Nurses assess the patient’s situation based off of their conversation, and then determine a course of action.

Such courses of action may include self-care advice, referral to a primary care physician or referral to emergency services.4

Is telephone triage nursing the right choice for me?

The key to telephone triage nursing is good listening skills. Because these nurses cannot rely on visual indications, listening is imperative.

Beth reminds us, “they must hear not only what the patient says, but also have the ability to interpret such subtle indications as the tone of voice, hesitations or incomplete responses.”4

If you are looking for a career with flexible hours that relies on careful listening and critical thinking skills, telephone triage nursing might be the field for you.

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