Around the Clock and Around the Calendar, Triage Nurses Answer the Calls

July 11, 2023, Gilchrist Staff, Nurses

Around the Clock and Around the Calendar, Triage Nurses Answer the Calls

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a team to deliver compassionate hospice to patients and their loved ones. Every team member is critically important to overall performance, including those who do their essential work from a distance rather than at bedside, such as our triage nurses.

Because so much of what they do is “out of sight,” triage nurses sometimes do not receive the attention, credit, and praise they truly deserve. To address this and help others better understand what they do, we decided to shine a spotlight on one of our exceptional triage nurses — triage lead nurse Mindy Potts.

Ready for Everything, Always

The first thing to know about Gilchrist’s squad of triage nurses is that they work around the clock and around the calendar to deliver 24-7-365 access and support to patients, patient families, and our staff. “Triage never takes a break,” Mindy says, explaining that her unit takes shifts staffing the 24-hour triage phone.

The next thing to know is that triage must be prepared to handle anything and everything at all times. In-coming calls vary widely. Patients and loved ones contact triage with urgent health care concerns and questions, of course. There are calls for prescription refills, medical equipment, and supplies. There are inquiries from doctors, insurers, and, yes, funeral homes. Some calls are from those who have just experienced a loss and need assistance figuring out what to do. And sometimes people phone in just to talk or vent.

“You never know what’s on the other side of the phone,” she says.

No matter the content of the call, these interactions are meaningful both to those receiving the care and those giving it.

“It’s rewarding to help alleviate fears and concerns and to provide education, even though it’s not face-to-face,” says Mindy, who has now been a Gilchrist triage nurse for seven years. “We get to help patients and families walk through a journey they’ve never walked through before.”

Mindy derives great satisfaction from the variety of her work and the variety of skills she has to draw on to perform at her best. There are so many roles we have to play — including nurse, teacher, and compassionate caretaker, — for those who don’t know what to expect, she says. “We have to know how the body works when healthy to explain what’s happening when the body is dying. We are the calm in the emotional storm.”

With 23 years of experience as a nurse, Mindy has worked in other healthcare settings, including in the ER. Of all her professional experiences, she feels that hospice is the most important and valuable.

“We’re able to give a level of compassion that is often lost in hospitals due to all that’s going on there,” she says.

What’s more, she adds, “When you’re able to be with someone at their last breath, that’s as priceless as the first breath of a newborn. That’s a special moment.”

When Mindy isn’t working, she enjoys reading, watching scary movies, doing yoga, and teaching Reiki. She lives with her husband of 11 years in the Baltimore County community of Essex along with their two cats. Editor’s Note: We are always looking for staff willing to step into the spotlight and share their stories with the entire Gilchrist team. To volunteer yourself or suggest someone else for a future article, contact our content writer Mark Cheshire at

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