History-Taking Questions During Triage in Emergency Medicine

Seung Hee Lee, Chan Woong Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Triage in emergency medicine is the initial process of assessing and categorizing urgency of patients’ conditions. During triage, nurses elicit patients’ problems and gather additional information through history taking and physical examination. This paper examines ways in which triage nurses construct history-taking questions and manage the task of urgency assessment. In video-recordings of triage interactions at an emergency department in Korea, nurses are oriented to building history-taking questions in the direction of ruling out urgency of patients’ conditions. First, triage nurses construct questions concerning patients’ current symptoms by undercutting their serious nature. Second, nurses also develop questions in search for a possible cause or diagnosis of patients’ problems, often proposing a non- or less urgent cause. Findings suggest that nurses may avoid overestimating the level of urgency in triage history taking and prioritize efficiency. Data are in Korean.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-349
Number of pages24
JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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