Triage is the extremely important process of quickly assessing each patient's needs and medical priority. During triage a nurse will ask you the following:
- The reason for your visit
- The medications you are currently taking
- Any allergies you may have to medications
- Your medical history
Additionally, the nurse will assess your vital signs, including your blood pressure, pulse, respiration and temperature. After evaluation by the triage nurse, you may be brought into the treatment area immediately, or you may be directed to the waiting area. Patients receive medical attention according to the perceived severity of their symptoms, illness or injury. Therefore, patients are evaluated in the order of medical necessity, rather than order of arrival. This includes patients transported to the ED by ambulance.
Although certain patients may not appear critically ill, their history, assessment and vital signs alert ED staff of the need for immediate attention. All patients should refrain from eating and drinking prior to seeing the physician due to the requirement of certain tests and procedures that may be necessary to perform during your evaluation.