Effects of environmental distractors on nurse emergency triage accuracy : A pilot study protocol

Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 6(1), 171



The clinical decisions of emergency department triage nurses need to be of the highest accuracy. However, studies have found repeatedly that these nurses over- or underestimate the severity of patient health conditions. This has major consequences for patient safety and patient flow management. Workplace distractors such as noise and task interruptions have been pointed to as factors that might explain this inaccuracy. The use of a serious game reproducing the work environment during triage affords the opportunity to explore the impact of these distractors on nurse emergency triage accuracy, in a safe setting.


A pilot study with a factorial design will be carried out to test the acceptability and feasibility of a serious game developed specifically to simulate the triage process in emergency departments and to explore the primary effects of distractors on nurse emergency triage accuracy. Eighty emergency nurses will be randomized into four groups: three groups exposed to different distractors (A, noise; B, task interruptions; C, noise and task interruptions) and one control group. All nurses will have to complete 20 clinical vignettes within 2 h. For each vignette, a gold standard assessment will be determined by experts. Pre-tests will be conducted with clinicians and certified emergency nurses to evaluate the appeal of the serious game.


Study results will inform the design of large-scale investigations and will help identify teaching, training, and research areas that require further development.

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