What Would Ma Bell Say?
Ma Bell may not be your mother, and I know that she can’t tell you what to do, but I doubt that she would approve of nurses talking on their cell phones or text messaging at the nurses station. I don’t like it either. Don’t get me wrong. I love Twittering my friends and chatting on the phone just as much as the next guy does, but it’s not appropriate to do those things in front of patients and their family members. It reminds me of when my dad use to read the newspaper at the dinner table. He would nod his head in agreement with whatever my mother was saying as he turned the pages of the newspaper. He was listening, but not really. Mom would get very upset. Patients feel like you’re blowing them off when your typing away on a keyboard or talking on your cell phone.
I know that it’s hard giving up your cell phone cold turkey, so here are some tips about using your cell phone at work.
Turn Your Cell Phone Ringer Off When You are in a Patient Care Area
Picture this: You’re tip toeing past a sleeping patient when all of a sudden everyone on the nursing unit hears, “Hey you, I’m talking to you. You have a call. Hey stupid, I’m talking to you! Answer the phone! ANSWER THE G-D PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!” I heard that ring tone one day when I was at work. Ring tones like that are a lot of fun when you’re out at a bar, but not when you giving patient bedside care. Turn your ringer off.
Use Your Phone Only For Important Calls
I’ve never understood why nurses use cell phones at work when there are multiple phones at every nursing station. If you must use your cell phone at work, use it only for important calls. What should you classify as an important call? It should be childcare issues. Talk to your friends about the new love in your life after work. Use your common sense.
Don’t Bring Your Cell Phone Into The Bathroom…Ever
Do I really need to explain this rule? Reach out and touch someone, but not from the bathroom. Enough said.