An Examination of ESI Triage Scoring Accuracy in Relationship to ED Nursing Attitudes and Experience.

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INTRODUCTION: This research was designed to examine if there is a difference in nurse attitudes and experience for those who assign Emergency Severity Index (ESI) scores accurately and those who do not assign ESI scores accurately. Studies that have used ESI scoring discussed the role of experience, but have not specifically addressed how the amount of experience and attitude towards patients in triage affect the triage nurse's decision-making capabilities.

METHODS: A descriptive, exploratory study design was used. Data from 64 nurses and 1,644 triage events at 3 emergency departments was collected. Participants completed demographic data, attitude (Caring Nurse Patient Interaction, CNPI-23) survey, and triage data collection tools during the continuous 8-hour triage shift. Clinical nurse expert raters retrospectively reviewed the charts and assigned an ESI score to be compared with the nurse. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the nurse and Pearson's correlation was used to examine the relationship between experience and attitude.

RESULTS: In this study of 64 nurse participants, the ESI score assigned by nurse participants did not differ significantly based on years of experience or CNPI mean score. The Kappa statistic ranged from a high of 0.63 in the nurse participant with 1.00 to 1.99 years of experience to a low of 0.51 in the nurse participant with 15 to 19 years of experience. The nurse participants with an overall mean CNPI-23 score of 106 to 115 achieved the highest agreement compared with a single participant with a CNPI-23 overall mean score of less than 77 who had a Kappa agreement of 0.50. The nurse participants with a CNPI-23 overall mean score between 81 and 92 demonstrated agreement of 0.54 to 0.60.

DISCUSSION: Based on the high level of liability the triage area presents, special consideration needs to be made when deciding which nurse should be assigned to that area. The evidence produced from this study should provide some reassurance to ED managers and nurses alike that nurses with minimal ED experience and a working understanding of the ESI 5-level triage algorithm possess the knowledge and the capacity to safely and appropriately triage patients in the emergency department.




Emergency Medicine | Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing




Patient Care Services / Nursing

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