Challenges and Barriers of Triage during Coronavirus Pandemic from the Emergency Nurses’ Perspective: A Qualitative Study

Maryam Khoshbakht Pishkhani1, Masoomeh Adib1, Marzieh Amiri1, Marzieh Jahani Sayad Noveiri1, *
1 Department of Nursing, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Guilan, Iran

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© 2023 Pishkhani et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Nursing, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Guilan, Iran; E-mail:



Triage of patients is vital for taking the optimum therapeutic measures during an epidemic of infectious diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the challenges and barriers to triage during the coronavirus epidemic from the nurses’ perspective.


This study was conducted using a qualitative content analysis method in 2020 in the North of Iran. Fifteen triage nurses were selected through the purposive sampling method, and data were collected through semi-structured interviews.


Following data analysis, two main themes, four categories, and 14 subcategories emerged. The main theme, ‘defective triage,’ included two categories of ‘inability to implement standard triage, and ‘the lack of efficient planning’, and the theme ‘alone in crisis’ included two categories: ‘triage personnel’s heavy workload’, and ‘insufficient support for triage personnel’.


The results of this study point to the challenges of planning and effective implementation of triage during the COVID-19 epidemic from the point of view of nurses, and it seems very important and necessary to pay attention to these challenges, control and manage them during the epidemic, as well as plan to prevent their occurrence.

Keywords: Triage, Epidemic, COVID-19, Nurse, Content analysis, Infectious diseases.