ER Radio Etiquette

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    My ER uses walkie-talkie radios to communicate around the department. We are in desperate need of some radio etiquette. I have been charged to come up with a short training on this.
    Can anyone share thoughts on radio etiquette?
  2. 10 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    But sure to tell them that HIPAA applies to the radio traffic. Tell them that if they would not say it over the loud speaker....they should NOT say it on the radio. Remember the patient CAN hear you! Professionalism is required at ALL times. Use language/terms that you would use in front of the Chief Nursing Officer as if she/he is standing next to you.
    canoehead, nrsang97, brillohead, and 1 other like this.
  4. 2
    one common issue with radio use is messages getting cut off by people beginning to speak to quickly. Advise your staff to PTT (push to talk) and wait second before speaking into the radio. this will keep the first half of the message from getting cut off. Some models have an audio signal when they PTT.

    Advise your staff that they need to be mindful not to step on each other - it's like trying to talk on speaker phones - one person can interrupt in and cancel out someone else's message.

    It's usually not necessary to get into doing things like ending each transmission with "over" - as it usually just becomes annoying and ties up the airways.

    Remind them that it is usually not necessary to speak in anything louder than normal speaking tone.
    nrsang97 and SuzieF like this.
  5. 2
    What Flare said.

    1) think about what you want to say
    2) key mic, pause
    3) talk clearly
    4) pause release mic

    Also remember you're not having a private conversation.
    nrsang97 and SuzieF like this.
  6. 2
    Also learn the NATO phonic alphabet and numbers and use pro words

    Eg of a conversation:
    Nurse 1: Charlie 1 this is Charlie 2
    Nurse 2: charlie 2 send
    N1: category ONE-er patient to resus TWO
    N2: roger Charlie 2

    For anyone interested this is the NATO alphabet
    Alpha, bravo, Charlie, delta, echo, foxtrot, golf, hotel, India, Juliet, kilo, Lima, mike, November, Oscar, papa, Quebec, Romeo, sierra, tango, uniform, victor, whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu
    SuzieF and Esme12 like this.
  7. 0
    Thank you very much for the feedback; it is helpful.
    Over and out.
  8. 0
    Quote from Flare
    It's usually not necessary to get into doing things like ending each transmission with "over" - as it usually just becomes annoying and ties up the airways.
    While saying "over" at the end of every transmission is unnecessary, saying "name clear" at the end of the conversation is helpful to signify that the channel is now open for everyone else.

    Starting your conversation by stating "Person A from Person B" also makes it clear who is supposed to respond and who is calling. The teaching point for this one is to make staff internalize "Hey you, it's me." If the intended recipient of the radio traffic, Person A, doesn't pick up after a couple tries, Person B should clear themselves from the channel.

    As always, emergent traffic has priority over mundane traffic.
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    One of the most common errors is in starting your transmission. You should always state the call sign of the person you are calling, followed by your own. For example, "nurse1 nurse2". This tells nurse1 that nurse2 is calling. This standardized format makes for less confusion. It can be hard sometimes to hear all of what someone is saying, soi if some people say "this is nurse2 calling nurse1" you might only hear xxxnurse2xxxxnurse1xxx. Then its not clear who is calling whom. As previously stated, push the mic, then wait for a second so you don't get cut off. Over and out...
  10. 1
    Quote from nurse2033
    One of the most common errors is in starting your transmission. You should always state the call sign of the person you are calling, followed by your own. For example, "nurse1 nurse2". This tells nurse1 that nurse2 is calling. This standardized format makes for less confusion. It can be hard sometimes to hear all of what someone is saying, soi if some people say "this is nurse2 calling nurse1" you might only hear xxxnurse2xxxxnurse1xxx. Then its not clear who is calling whom. As previously stated, push the mic, then wait for a second so you don't get cut off. Over and out...
    Please don't use this order. It annoys the hell out of people trained in proper radio etiquette.
    mmutk likes this.
  11. 0
    Quote from TheSquire
    Please don't use this order. It annoys the hell out of people trained in proper radio etiquette.
    Actually, "Recipient, this is Caller" is proper radio etiquette, at least for every FD, EMS, and PD in my county. And for our MedCom. And for every hospital that receives radio reports. But, I only have 4 years of 911 EMS experience prior to getting into the ER, so I could be wrong.


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