Surgeon On Call Pager concerns

  1. 0
    I work for a Spine Surgey practice in Ohio and one of our spine surgeons refuses to carry his after hours pager. As a result 2 MA's and myself (BSN) take turns carrying the pager for 2 weeks at a time. Is this legal? I worry that here may be some serious liability associated with this responsibility and I/we don't feel comfortable with this task. He operates 3 day a week so pages occur almost daily and the bulk of them are from hospitals or the ED. We have tried to research this topic and have come up empty handed. We are also not being compensated for this additional job that is a huge inconvenience.
    We are basicaly serving as a middle man to receive the pages- then filter them- and relay the message to him.

    Any help/advice would be appreciated!!!
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  4. 6 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    This is not a hard problem to fix: stop carrying the pager. It will go off, unanswered, and the practice will hear about it. Trust me, the problem will be solved.
    anotherone and poppycat like this.
  6. 0
    Moved to general nursing discussion for best response....

    Well....you are not giving orders but are acting as his answering service/call screener/operator. Is he the only one in the practice? If not how do the others in the practice handle this situation? If this is a whole practice maybe bring it to the attention of the partners/chief owner or your manager to seek a common ground.

    Now if this is the only MD and you are stuck in a way....I would bring it to his attention that you are working on call after hours which place you on the clock after hours covering his "On call beeper". We cannot give legal advice as per the Terms of Service.......however, I would do due diligence and look up in your state the rules about compensation for on call pay for both hourly and salaried personnel. You could mention that you will be making an inquiry with the division of wage and labor in regards to your lack of compensation for these hours worked.

    If he is an upstanding MD he will either cough up compensation........if not, and it bothered me that much, I might start looking for another position........Good Luck
  7. 0
    If you are screening the calls, are you not making judgement calls about what merits his attention? I wouldn't want to put myself in that position and make the wrong call. And at the very least, he is delaying patient care because no matter how good you guys are, you're not an answering service and won't be as efficient about getting calls to him and ensuring he calls back, not to even touch the situation where he is not paying you for this extra work and liability.

    I hate to be so rude, but he sounds like a jerk.
  8. 0
    Refer to the medical staff bylaws for the answer on this. I'm sure they have very clear instructions.

    I can understand using an expert RN to screen calls, if there is a pre-established protocol for managing them, including clear direction for prioritization... but the use of non-licensed MA's? I can't imagine any situation in which that is acceptable.

    Rest assured, if something bad happens, you will be under the bus in a flash. Your license will be jeopardized due to failure to communicate... because the surgeon's defense will be "of course I would have ____ if I had been informed"
  9. 2
    This sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. I'd stop carrying the pager and let what happens, happen. I can't stand surgeons who think they are above answering pages.
    anotherone and debsgreys like this.
  10. 0
    Likely not an actual scope of practice concern, as you're just playing answering service, and those are perfectly legal. But if you aren't getting paid, definitely a nice question of employment law. If he has to start paying you, that will probably stop the practice right there and then.


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