Cell phone use in hospitals - page 2

Our hospital has signs posted all over the place about not using cell phones in the hospital. We are told they may interfere with the medical equipment. But then on TLC on shows like A Baby Story... Read More

  1. by   galenight
    Cell Phones aren't allowed in my facility either. We were told that it could interfere with the telemetry because they both use radio frequencies. I am constantly telling visitors and patients that they must not only not use the phone in the hospital but turn it off as even the signal coming into the phone can create artifact. I am (fondly?) known at work as the Cell Phone Nazi.

    However, if it really isn't a problem they should allow them. I know our hospital would save tons of money on the phone bill if they did. People are always needing to call family from our ER (rightly so) and often attempt to do so with their cell phone. I tell them they can't and allow them to use our phone to place the call. Put that bug in a few CEO's ears and you will see the policy change in a hurry!
  2. by   P_RN
    We started using wireless phones for the nursing staff back in '95. Our floor was just below the NICU and above the neuro-icu. Nothing untoward ever happened.
    Sure saved a bunch of steps when a doc called back. Plus you could call the pharmacy or whatever from the room etc.
  3. by   deathnurse
    In an emergency...

    You've got to know what's going where.

    Ya' can't dump high dose K riders through the right atrium.

    Nipride can get an unwanted "boost" if ran though the same line as a piggybacked or primary faster rate fluid. And look out when the other fluid is finished...the nipride will slow down.

    Sedation (diprivan) not working? Where do you look first? If you were told it's in the black port, go there. If the TPN is running into another port, both are white, and they may not be labeled. You need sedation in a hurry sometimes and TPN can wait. Line clogged? Where do you go next? Dump the TPN and save the BP. You got that stuff in report, or you should have.

    Is the patient "bleeding dopamine?" Is the line patent in an emergency? You want the pressors up by the neck so if CPR starts there will be less thrashing around of the extremity sites and you won't lose you line.

    Needless to say, you've got to label all of the lines just to speed things up when you add or subtract drugs. The order that the drugs are hooked up to a manifold can also screw with the titrations...you don't want a volatile, slowly infusing drug to enter the manifold LAST. Some of it's speed will be amplifide or reduced by the actions of the other fluids through the same line.

    Compatibilities aren't that much of an issue with central lines...indeed, sometimes you've just got to say screw it and test for whatever happens. The actual dwell time of the solutions in the line before they hit tissue may not be a factor with larger bore access. And that stuff about nitroglycerin in it's own special tubing that prevents "leaching" is pretty much ignored in my shrine. We use the same tubing for everything.

    Also...dated an anesthesiologist...that was fun. Was always a stickler for what was going where. In an emergency, you've GOT to know. And after you know, you can goof off.
  4. by   mattcastens
    First of all, don't confuse cellular phones with cordless phones. One of the hospitals I used to work in had all the nurses use cordless phones that looked an awful lot like cell phones, but they were tied into the hospital phone system. We would carry them to make it easier to make physician calls, etc.

    I have seen cell phones play havoc with telemetry equipment. There was also a warning about a year or so ago from the Baxter corporation that they discovered when cell phones were used near one of their IV infusion pumps that the machine would go from its programmed rate to a rate of 999 cc/hr until the phone was turned off.
  5. by   thisnurse
    two of the assistants on our unit have cell phones. personal cell phones. they play a cute little song when they ring.
    they carry them everywhere. when they are in a patients room and ring they just answer them...hey girlfriend! and they chat away while they work. i guess they got these because they didnt want to be seen sitting at the desk constantly. so now they are chatting on their cell phones AND getting calls to the desk.
    is management aware? oh yeah.
    do they care?
    obviously not.

    but if the NURSES started doing that it would be a different story.

    i dunno, i just cant imagine taking vital signs and drawing blood while making plans for going out later.
  6. by   askater
    I work a cardiac step-down. And yes each nurse gets a cell-phone. They started that a few months ago.

    I must say I love using cell phones b/c when a patients in distress you never have to leave their b.s. And on weekends we don't have a secretary....so it's helping us tons.

    Now regarding the interference....I'm not sure. I know when I was an O.B. patient...there were signs...and dh got in trouble for using a cellular.
  7. by   Whisper
    I have never seen, mobile phones interfere with medical equipment (mainly becasue I haven't been in areas where the was equipment to be interfered with) however, they do set off the fire alarm, if they are used under a sensor, and there are signs everywhere saying you will be charged for the call out of the fire service.

    But most staff keep their phones in their pockets on silent, and send and recieve text messages. I msut be a muppet because I carry mine around with me all shift swithed off in my pocket!! I would die if I set the fire alarms off.
  8. by   pebbles
    One of the managers at my hospital told me the hospital did a study a few years back, and cellular phones did actually interfere with the older model Baxter IV pumps we use.

    Personally, as far as patient safety, I'd rather ban the cell phones and not take the chance. Let people use phones at the desk for work related stuff, make social plans during their breaks, and let's focus on patient care while we are at work. Cell phone interferance is not something I have control over, but if it messes up the IV pumps, it's a big safety issue. I'm legally responsible for this patient's care - if a visitor across the room uses a cell phone, and her IV rate is afected, and I'm not aware of that happening...

    The what-if's make it worthwhile to ban the things. Our administrators are afraid of lawsuits from those potential unknowns, thats why the bans are in place. It protects nurses from legal action too, right?
  9. by   RyanRN
    deathnurse, I have used each and every drug you have mentioned and still cannot for the life of me understand the rationale for reporting which lines are infusing which drugs. I had damned well better be alert enough on my OWN assessment to know which drugs are where. I am not going to take your word, sorry, I look myself (like checking my own med even after you've checked them thoroughly and reported tome. I certainly wouldnt piggy anything where it shouldn't be. Diprivan is WHITE and obvious, I can SEE TPN etc., not piggys into that. and follow any line anywhere. What does a K rider have to do with anything? I'll send that in where it should be. You have to look EACH time you do anything and not rely on memory or report. In any case, if I wanted, I could get right up from report and after assessing and considering any 'clogs' change everything around and that report wouldn't amount to a thing. In any emergency I would NEVER just assume something is running where I THOUGHT it was, that would require LOOKING at that moment.

    Bottom line, my point was we pass on way too many inconcequental, unreliable, time-wasting,peripheral garbage on report. I like to get to the meat of the report, Ill check out everything else for myself.
  10. by   pollux
    I was in court with a pt and suddenly all my i.v. pumps went crazy. I tried to reset them without succes until I thought that may be it was a cell phone. I ask the security guard to go outside the court room and tell people to close there cell phone. There was only two person using one but once they stop, pure coincidence may be, I was able to finally reset my pumps.
  11. by   SharonH, RN
    Originally posted by mattcastens
    First of all, don't confuse cellular phones with cordless phones. One of the hospitals I used to work in had all the nurses use cordless phones that looked an awful lot like cell phones, but they were tied into the hospital phone system. We would carry them to make it easier to make physician calls, etc.

    I have seen cell phones play havoc with telemetry equipment. There was also a warning about a year or so ago from the Baxter corporation that they discovered when cell phones were used near one of their IV infusion pumps that the machine would go from its programmed rate to a rate of 999 cc/hr until the phone was turned off.

    Matt, you have a point. I have worked in two facilities that used the cordless phones. In one, we were actually using wireless phones that as you stated were tied into the hospital phone system. BUT in the facility that I am currently working at, we actually use cellular phones that are not tied into the hospital phone system. We have to dial 9 to dial another number within the hospital and everthing, on the telemetry floor. Cellular, not cordless. Weird, huh?
  12. by   dawngloves
    I don't know our hospitals policy and I don't see any signs, but I tell people to turn off their phones so I don't have to hear the freakin' things ring all day and them sittin' there yakin' on them!

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