The work flow is different on the floor. While I was not in the "it's rude to answer the phone in a patient's room" camp, and would take calls because I never knew if it was something urgent, I did notice a "Murphy's Law" type of phenomenon with the phone, in that it would invariably ring the moment I was elbow deep in a patient's bodily fluids, packed wound, pannus, or fresh groin puncture.
If I was expecting an admit from the ED or the cath lab, I would hold off on my meal break until after I had received report. If the patient sounded like a quick tuck-and-run, I could ask the nurse breaking me to do it. If the patient sounded a bit more involved, then I would stay and get them settled before going on my meal break.
There were many times where the ED or cath lab would try to call report, and I'd tell them I needed five to ten minutes to finish what I was doing and that I'd call them back, only to have them call me back literally two minutes later. Or, they would make some noise on the other end of the phone to vent their frustration. Or, if I couldn't answer my phone because I was holding pressure on a groin puncture, changing a sterile dressing, inserting a foley, cleaning up poop, starting an IV or whatever, they would continue to call and call and call and call and call and call until I finally answered. This was especially true in contact isolation rooms, where I'd be gowned and gloved from head to toe, my phone in my pocket under all my isolation garb where I couldn't get to it anyway.
You can't delay care until after the ED has called report, because you never know if it's going to be in ten minutes or an hour, and you just don't have that kind of time to wait, so you go about your duties and hope they don't call when you're in the middle of something.
We do faxed report now, and what I hear is that the floor nurses don't care for it too much because the report is not detailed enough. But it sure has cut down on the friction between ED and inpatient unit as far as phone tag goes.
The phone was a huge source of annoyance for me when I worked the floor. There were nights where I felt like all I did was answer the phone. It rang whenever a bed alarm clear on the other side of the unit went off. It rang with family members asking questions I could not answer over the phone. It rang with family members wanting to know why Grandma wasn't answering her phone. It rang with dietary confirming diet orders, with lab asking about lab orders, it rang and rang and rang. Constantly.