Mary Elizabeth Greenberg

Northern Arizona University, USA

Title: The nurse and the telephone: Ensuring safety and avoiding catastrophe


Mary Elizabeth Greenberg, PhD, RN-BC, C-TNP is a recognized expert in telephone nursing with over 20 year experience in telephone triage, including research, practice, and program management. She has many publications and presentations. She co-authored, with Carol Rutenberg, The art and science of telephone triage: How to practice nursing over the phone (2012) and a chapter, Telephone triage: A primer for lawyers and LNCs, in Nursing Malpractice (2011).


The telephone is a commonly used tool in healthcare. Nurses use the telephone to triage patients, discuss test results, coordinate care, follow-up after a procedure or hospital discharge, and much more. The telephone offers such a convenient way to deliver care that both the complexity of this practice and the inherent risks are easy to overlook. Indeed, patient care over the telephone is among the most sophisticated and high risk practices nurses engage in today. If you interact with patients over the telephone this session is for you. In the presentation, the role of the nurse, identify the basic standards used to guide the practice, explore lawsuits and common pitfalls to highlight the risks associated with this practice, and discuss strategies to reduce the risks and enhance the safety and quality of care provided over the telephone etc. will be reviewed.