Emergency care continues to be a challenge, since patients’ arrival is unscheduled and could occur at the same time which may fill the Emergency Department with non-urgent patients. Triaging is an integral part of every busy ED. The Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) is considered an accurate tool to be used outside Canada. This study aims to identify the chosen triage level and compare the variation between registered nurses, pediatric and adult emergency residents by using CTAS cases.
This study was conducted at King Abdulaziz Medical City,Saudi Arabia. A cross-sectional self-administered questionnaire was used, and which contains 15 case scenarios with different triage levels. All cases were adopted from a Canadian triage course after receiving permission. Each case provides the patient’s symptoms, clinical signs and mode of arrival to the ED. The participants were instructed to assign a triage level using the following scale. A non-random sampling technique was used for this study. The rates of agreement between residents were calculated using kappa statistics (weighted-kappa) (95%CI).
A total of 151 participants completed the study questionnaire which include 15 case scenarios. 73 were nurses and 78 were residents. The results showed 51.3, 56.6, and 59.9% mis-triaged the cases among the nurses, emergency residents, and pediatric residents respectively. Triage scores were compared using the Kruskal Wallis test and were statistically significant with a p value of 0.006. The mean ranks for nurses, emergency residents and pediatric residents were 86.41, 73.6 and 59.96, respectively. The Kruskal Wallis Post-Hoc test was performed to see which groups were statistically significant, and it was found that there was a significant difference between nurses and pediatrics residents (P value = 0.005). Moreover, there were no significant differences found between nurses and ER residents (P value> 0.05).
The triaging system was found to be a very important tool to prioritize patients based on their complaints. The results showed that nurses had the greatest experience in implementing patients on the right triage level. On the other hand, ER and pediatric residents need to develop more knowledge about CTAS and become exposed more to the triaging system during their training.