As the accompanying article explains, telephone nursing programs require written or computerized guidelines that will permit the nurses to give consistent, standardized advice. Specialty societies are good sources of those guidelines, although pediatricians should look to the American Academy of Family Physicians, says Carol Stock, RN, a Seattle-based medico-legal consultant.
Two books worth consulting are "Pediatric Telephone Protocols: A Quick Reference," by Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. (1995), and "Telephone TriageTheory, Practice and Protocol Development," by Sheila Quilter Wheeler, RN, with Judith H. Windt, Ph.D. (1993).
Schmitt's book covers the 95 most common pediatric telephone complaints and sets out appropriate protocols for nurses to follow. The book sells for $75 and is available from Decision Press, 5121 Pinyon Drive, Littleton, Colo. 80123. Wheeler and Windt's book covers protocol design and development, techniques for interviewing and documentation, crisis interventions, and liability and legal precautions. It costs $34.95 and is available through International Thomson Publishing Inc., 7625 Empire Dr., Florence, Ky. 41042.
If you're interested in attending a conference on the subject, The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing sponsors periodic meetings on telephone nursing. For information, contact the ACN national office at 800-262-6877. …