Triaging in Emergency Departments

Registered nurses (RN) are responsible and accountable to provide evidence-based, safe, competent and ethical nursing care in all practice settings. In the emergency department, “the process of triage is essential for safe and appropriate care of the emergency department patient” (National Emergency Nurses Association [NENA], 2019).

In 2019, NENA revised their position statement, Role of the Triage Nurse and includes the following key points:

  • Triage is a sorting process that requires rapid assessment, critical thinking and application of a standard set of guidelines with patients that can experience instability and changes to their condition.
  • The process of triage is best carried out by RNs and Nurse Practitioners (NP) with emergency nursing expertise who have completed a triage-specific educational program.

RNs and NPs work in the emergency department as part of a multidisciplinary team, where safe and appropriate care is best achieved through collaboration and respect.

This nursing practice update replaces the former Triaging in Emergency Departments CRNS and SALPN Joint Statement, 2013.

If you have questions, please contact an CRNS Practice Advisor by phone at 1.800.667.9945 or 306.359.4200 or by email


National Emergency Nurses Association. 2019. Role of the Triage Nurse. Retrieved from

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