Online Telephone Triage Training for Sexual Health Intake Staff


This learning package aims to provide intake staff with the necessary skills and knowledge required to appropriately triage clients who present to NSW Publicly Funded Sexual Health Services. The learning package is in four parts. There is an assessment component at the end of each section. This course was developed in consultation with the Sexual Health Info Line, The NSW Senior Nurses Technical Group and the Publicly Funded Sexual Health Services working group.

Sexual Health Services and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Strategies

Sexual Health Services specialise in the prevention and treatment of sexually transmissible infections. As NSW Health funded sexual health services have a limited capacity to see all who require services the National and State Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) Strategies require the prioritisation of those most in need of services.


Triage has been defined as a system for allocating scarce resources; it provides the maximum resources to people of high priority and few or no resources to people of lowest priority.

Purpose of Triage

A triage process ensures that:

  • clients seen in publicly funded sexual health services are appropriate for the service
  • access to services is optimised for priority groups, and
  • clients who are not a priority can be referred to alternative services.

Characteristics of clients who present to sexual health clinics.

Clients presenting to sexual health clinics come from a broad spectrum of the community. As the risk of acquiring an STI increases with the presence of certain factors, the collection of the following information assists in determining who should be provided with services.

  • Choice of sexual partners
  • Frequency of partner change
  • History of sex work
  • Age
  • Aboriginality
  • Presence or absence of STI symptoms
  • Being a recent contact of someone diagnosed with an STI
  • HIV status
  • History of injecting drug use

Additional information related to priority groups will be provided in a later section of this learning package.

Learning Objectives

At the end of Part 1 you will have have a greater understanding of:

  1. how people learn about sex,
  2. why people might have sex, and
  3. identify the barriers to communicating about sex,
  4. define that sexual health is not merely the absence of disease, and
  5. define and maintain healthy personal and professional boundaries.

At the end of Part 2 you will be able to:

  1. explain why certain groups of people are more at risk of STIs,
  2. describe some STI symptoms,
  3. decide who should attend a sexual health clinic and who should be referred to a GP, and
  4. identify priority populations in your local area who may access your clinic.

At the end of Part 3 you will be able to:

  1. outline the framework for a phone call,
  2. demonstrate some communication skills required for each aspect of a call, and
  3. adapt some scripts to prioritise callers.

At the end of Part 4 you will be able to describe appropriate ways to:

  • Respond to distressed callers,
  • Deal with a caller in crisis,
  • Respond to non-priority callers, and
  • Manage aggressive callers.

References, supplementary reading and course overview

When viewing the slides, click on the arrow button to advance the slide. Hyperlinks within the slide show will take you to supplementary reading. Click on the left side menu button to access Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 of the course.

Course Feedback

After you have completed each part, please take some time to fill in the evaluation so that we can improve this course. Feedback can be provided electronically by clicking on the following links or by downloading the word document below.

  1. Provide feedback on Part 1
  2. Provide feedback on Part 2
  3. Provide feedback on Part 3
  4. Provide feedback on Part 4

Course Evaluation Form