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The Development of an Obstetric Triage Acuity Tool

Paisley, Kathleen S. BSN, RNC; Wallace, Ruth MSN, RNC; DuRant, Patricia G. MSN, RN

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: September-October 2011 - Volume 36 - Issue 5 - p 290–296
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0b013e318226609c
Feature Article

The purpose of this article is to describe the journey a multicampus hospital system took to improve the obstetric triage process. A review of literature revealed no current comprehensive obstetric acuity tool, and thus our team developed a tool with a patient flow process, revised and updated triage nurse competencies, and then educated the nurses about the new tool and process. Data were collected to assess the functionality of the new process in assigning acuity upon patient arrival, conveying appropriate acuities based on patient complaints, and initiating the medical screening examination, all within prescribed time intervals. Initially data indicated that processes were still not optimal, and re-education was provided for all triage nurses. This improved all data points. The result of this QI project is that our patients are now seen based on their acuity within designated time frames.

How well does triage work in your perinatal setting? Have the principles of safety science been integrated into your triage guidelines? These nurses have developed a tool specifically for obstetric triage acuity, and share the work here with you.

Kathleen S. Paisley is a Clinical Analyst in Clinical Risk Management at Adventist Health System.

Ruth Wallace is the System Perinatal Clinical Specialist at Florida Hospital.

Patricia G. DuRant is a Perinatal Consultant. When this project was undertaken Ms. DuRant was Assistant Vice President Women's and Medical Surgical Services, Florida Hospital. She can be reached via e-mail at

The authors have disclosed that there are no financial relationships related to this article. The authors are employed by the organization discussed in this article.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.