auditing call lights?

  1. Any one else dealing with this at their hospital?

    We were told that our call lights were being audited from now on. In ICU we rarely have call lights (we're typically in the pts room or very close by, and the pts can't usually use them).

    Now anytime a call light goes off, the unit clerk is supposed to visually locate the nurse and make a note of what he/she was doing when the call light went off and where they were in the unit. I'm trying not to be irate about this, but I'm having a very, very hard time with it.

    The whole point of using a call light is that your nurse is not in the room, right? So basically we're going to be reprimanded if we have too many call lights during a shift. Management believes we should either be in our pts room or directly outside their door at all times during a 12-hr shift. We don't have enough computers to chart outside our rooms so we typically chart in the nurses station in the middle of the unit.

    Anyone else encounter this?
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    About picurn10

    Joined: Feb '08; Posts: 412; Likes: 153


  3. by   Esme12
    What???? They actually said this? Wow....

    Have there been complaints? Was there an incident? What is their rationale/reasoning for this?
  4. by   BacktoBasics
    My hospital will audit call lights but only when there's a complaint. Our hospital has a sophisticated call-bell system that will ring our work phones. In the case's I've heard of, it's actually worked to our benefit. Patient/family would state the call bell was going on "for hours" or "no ones been in all night" but they can audit it and see that it was answered timely.

    A smarter idea in your case is instead of the Unit Clerk tracking what the RN is doing, go answer it!
  5. by   amarilla
    The last floor I worked audited call lights. They were able to generate a report from each shift how many times individual lights went on, how long they went unanswered and if they were bedside/bathroom/etc. They could not show if they were answered by the desk or shut off in the room, however, so many patients would state 'they just shut the bell off, no one ever came to the room.' My answer at our staff meetings on 'improving call light response' (ugh) was to provide adequate staff; not surprisingly, this was usually ignored.

    I've since left that facility but hear they have instituted 'rn trackers' which monitor your movements through the unit. Apparently they're interested in how much time nurses spend in the room and how many times we wash hands. Good riddance to that place and all of its 'smart' technology. *eyeroll
  6. by   Caffeine_IV
    During the day the secetary documents the call lights and patient request to ensure we are doing the 3 Ps. Their conclusion is if your patient is always calling for potty or whatever you are doing hourly rounding.
  7. by   DoeRN

    A smarter idea in your case is instead of the Unit Clerk tracking what the RN is doing, go answer it!

    Exactly! The time it took to walk around the floor and find the nurse, the unit clerk could have gotten Mr. Smith some ice.
  8. by   SwansonRN
    Not sure, but I wouldn't be surprised. Our BA calls the nurses phones directly "so and so wants this". Unrelated, but once I was in the middle of an intubation for one of my patients and I get one of the oh so pleasant calls from the front desk. I tell her I am in the middle of an emergency and can't leave, please call a tech. "A tech can't help with this request." My hands are tied, so the charge nurse ends up answering the empty the foley bag per the family's request! REALLY?! A tech could have easily done that. Let me just leave my patient that doesn't have an airway to empty pee into a urinal. I hate this notion that other staff/patients seem to have that if the nurses aren't in the patients rooms fixing their pillows or fetching them ice that we're sitting around doing nothing. The idea of RN tracking is absolutely ridiculous!
    Last edit by SwansonRN on Dec 6, '12
  9. by   picurn10
    wow, that RN tracking thing is INSANE! I think I'd quit at that point. Turnover in our unit is super high as it is.

    interesting to know that other places do this as well, I though it might just be my director's idea.

    Sarakjp, I know! huge pet peeve of mine when family with a stable kid get all ****** when you don't come running to fluff a pillow, when your other pt is crashing or some other urgent need.

    Our unit clerks are also tele monitors so they can't answer lights, but its a small unit and honestly pretty rare for lights to go off. We maybe have one or two a shift, sometimes none. I'm sure this was generated by a pt complaint. What's really irritating is that nursing staff wasn't told about it, just the monitor techs. So basically they are supposed to be ratting us our to our boss and we've never even been told 'hey, we've had complaints about call lights going unasnwered'.
  10. by   CrystalSSA
    The last time mine was audited, I was happy. The patient stated that I took over an hour and a half to bring him pain meds. A call bell audit compared to my documentation proved it was 22 mins. Big difference.
  11. by   Wave Watcher
    They could track my a#@ right out the door and see how many minutes it would take me to get from the elevator to my car. How about they put "pressure" trackers on the seats of the charge nurses where I use to work so every time their butts graced the seat it tracked it! I bet it would track only one time because they would sit and never get up! So glad I don't work in a hospital anymore. Makes my teeth itch just thinking about it!
  12. by   MoopleRN
    Call lights were tracked at my last facility (hospital). It was a total freaking joke. Most of our census were elderly/confused and didn't even realize they'd hit the light. Regardless, we were dinged about not doing our 3 Ps (which in most cases one of the 3 Ps really meant "I need to pee every 3 minutes"). Ppl who didn't do our job told us how to do our job.... ExTREMEly frustrating/stressful... How dare they tell us we weren't doing the 3 Ps?!? Did they think we didn't know how to do our jobs? Did they think we WANTED to answer that many (unnecessary) lights?!?!? Cripes o mighty. This thread struck a nerve for me. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!
  13. by   martymoose
    yep - we got the trackers too. Thing is, we have a lot of psych and geri -psych/dementia pts - they repeatedly hit the light for evry little thing- "change the channel, " , "i forgot what i wanted"," i have to pee"( despite having been on the bsc 5 minutes ago), etc. Or families who want their family member to be your "highlight pt of the night" Those people would flat out say they dont care if you are running a code- their family member comes FIRST!!As long as mgmt has this customer service mentality, and each pt is a special little snowflake- we are all doomed. It is a tall order to fulfill realistically- esp. if there is not enough techs/aides to go around. And Ive noted lately the pts we do have are 2-3 assists to get oob to a commode- that takes half the staff off the floor- esp. if they are going more than a couple times an hour :-(
  14. by   picurn10
    my thought is that these hospitals with a focus on customer service need to have a pt consierge! They could run around fluffing pillows, bringing ice to pts, snacks to families, and all manner of butt kissing so that I can be free to actually provide the nursing skills I went to school for, the ones that are keeping my pts alive and healthy! Ah, one can dream, right?