Hello! Before calling a physician, especially when it is a MD who doesn't know the patient at all because he's/she's on call or at night, be sure to know:
1. Patient full name and admitting diagnosis
2. Current vitals, I & O for the past 24 hrs
3. Current IV fluids/rate (and have med
sheets in front of you too
4. Current lab results
5. Status of any drains, incisions, drsgs
6. Are any other MDs involved in this
7. Give a brief outline (if this is the on- call MD) of the patient's length of stay
i.e. "Day #4, POD #2, returned to OR
yesterday for ...., etc., any
significant problems, what's been
done so far, and how did the pt
respond to this treatment?
8. WHY are you calling? What makes you
think there is a problem (be objective)
and what have you tried so far to fix
9. Have the chart in front of you, so you
can write the orders if you receive any
10. Then document whom you called, where
they were when contacted, what you told them, and what their response was. If you have difficulty reaching a MD, document what you tried and when.
IN OTHER WORDS - know as much about that patient as you can - and another thing - doctors hate to be called in succession - so communicate with the other nurses working the floor and see if they need that MD for anything so you can consolidate those calls.
They'll appreciate it and they'll be easier to work with if they know you're trying to work with them. Also - every facility has a chain of command so if you run into problems with a MD not responding, don't stop - remember you were calling for a reason - notify the leaders you need to - I've occasionally had to go over a MD's head and notify their department chair - this has always gotten quick resolution of the issue.
Thanks for asking! GOOD LUCK! I never hesitate to call - but I'm always prepared!