Acceptability of emergency department triage nurse's advice for patients to attend general practice: A cross-sectional survey

Ghasem (Sam) Toloo, David Lim, Kevin Chu, Frances B. Kinnear, Douglas G. Morel, Darren Wraith, Gerry FitzGerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Demand for ED care is increasing at a rate higher than population growth. Strategies to attenuate ED demands include diverting low-acuity general practice-type ED attendees to alternate primary healthcare settings. The present study assessed the ED attendees' receptiveness to accept triage nurse's face-to-face advice to explore alternate options for medical care and what factors influence the level of acceptance. Methods: The ED attendees of four major public hospital EDs in Brisbane were surveyed between August and October 2018, using a questionnaire informed by Health Belief Model's cues to action. Results: Of the 514 valid responses, 81% of respondents were very likely/likely to accept the triage nurse's advice to see a general practitioner. Self-perceived urgency of presenting condition/s (odds ratio [OR] 0.87, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.78–0.97), not having confidence in general practitioner (OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.21–0.66) and having a medical record at the hospital (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.36–0.99) were negatively associated with the likelihood of accepting the advice. For every point increase in perceived seriousness, the odds of accepting the advice decreased by 16% (95% CI 6–25%). Conclusion: Most of the participants believed that EDs were for emergent care and they attended the ED because they perceived their presenting condition/s to be serious and/or urgent. The acceptability of face-to-face advice by triage nurse to seek help in general practice was influenced by perceived threats of the illness, and the underlying beliefs about availability, accessibility, suitability and affordability of the service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-384
Number of pages9
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number3
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • behaviour
  • emergency nursing
  • emergency service
  • general practice
  • triage


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