What do you think about cell phone use?

  1. I know that most hospitals have restricted areas where visitors can use thier cell phone. When the family asks why they cant use it in certain areas, the usual response is "it may interfer with some of the equipment." There are even signs posted at most facilities.

    I personally have never seen this happen. Has anyone else?

    I find this to be a really difficult rule to enforce, partly because I don't really have what I feel is a satisfactory answer for the families. Second of all, every doc that walks thru the door has a cell phone on there belt and use them at the desk and sometimes in the patients room as well.

    How does everyone else handle this?
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  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   LoraLou
    I have actually seen it mess up the monitors, only once and that was a while ago. I worked with someone who said the really old cell phones would mess up the iv pumps at the facility that she worked at. What I have heard is that they only mess up the equipment when the phone goes into analog roaming which is extremely rare with the newer cell phones. I don't know how true that it is. I always tell people that its not very common, but it can sometimes happen and wouldn't they rather be safe than sorry with their loved ones and there is usually not a problem. As far as the docs go I have seen them using cell phones at the desk on occasion which is usually more than the 3-5 feet away it says, I have never seen them use them in the rooms.
  4. by   Lynda Lampert, RN
    I actually had to tell a doc the other day that he couldn't use the cell phone on our floor. He looked sheepish and hung it up as he sprinted towards the fire stairwell. I basically had to tell him, too, because a family member was standing in the hall way and I just had to tell her the same thing. Luckily this was one of our sweetheart docs who would not have taken offense. We also have signs EVERYWHERE that say patients, visitors and DOCS are not allowed to use phones. They aren't allowed to text, either. Apparently some of our pcas where texting while working and waiting to answer a bell until they had typed their text. :trout:

    Well, you do have so many interesting things happen in a hospital, don't you? :spin:

    Iona
  5. by   joannep
    I have seen a surgeon use one in the OR all the time, mostly when the patient is anaesthetised. When I mentioned to him that mobile phones were not to be used in the hospital and especially in the OR, he told me to ---- off. That did it for me, I don't bother trying to enforce that rule.
    Last edit by donsterRN on Sep 13, '07 : Reason: language TOS
  6. by   anonymurse
    We have a 6-foot rule. It's in our "welcome to tele" handout.

    Last night I paged a doc because he told me to page him to remind him if he didn't show up on the unit after a certain time. I told the secretary I was expecting the call. I received one page to take a call, and as soon as I got the page, I looked up at the phone. I was sitting right by one and I saw the caller had hung up already.

    Later I saw the doc and he said he had called. I asked how long he had waited. He said he waited 5 min and had to hang up, then he called again but only waited a short time because he figured out why I'd paged.

    I told him what the deal was and that maybe next time I'd page him to my cell phone.

    I believe that's exactly what I'll do whenever that secretary's on. I'll wait to page when I find time to chart, then I'll sit in the break room, easily 6 feet from any tele equipment, and chart as I wait.
  7. by   pebbles
    We enforce it and tell visitors "better safe than sorry when people's lives are on the line". That gets it for most of them.

    I also have a problem with the RUDENESS of cell phone use. A family member at the bedside, and I can't talk to either the pt or his family because they are too busy gabbing.
    It adds extra noise to a busy environment (especially now that I work in the ICU - those loud one-sided conversations are just unnecessary.)

    I think it's outrageous that some facilities have nurses talking on their cellphone on the job. I think managers should be stopping that as it's a personal call, and personal business. We have always been told to limit our personal calls at work and keep them to during our breaks as much as possible. Having your cellphone on and talking on it while you are supposed to be doing patient care is rude and unprofessional.

    Nobody is going to fuss about a mom with a kid-emergency. But how many of these calls are emergent, and how many can wait... call the babysitter back when you are on break.
  8. by   anonymurse
    OK, here's a factual article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4193689a7144.html

    PS, articles like these caused the outright ban to be lifted on our unit.
    Last edit by anonymurse on Sep 13, '07
  9. by   Tweety
    I think it's more of the old days that this was a problem with our telemetry monitors, or a potential problem. A few years ago we dropped the restrictions where I work.
  10. by   GilaRRT
    We need to be honest. Telling people that using a cell phone will kill a critical patient in the ICU because the equipment will fizzle out related cell phone death rays hitting the equipment is not only dishonest, but it is quite passive agressive. Please do not quote some of the newer articls that say using a cell phone within an inch of a monitor may cause problems. This is simply not the case when I am walking down the hall with my phone in one hand and a Starbucks in the other.

    Why not be honest about cell phone use with staff, patients, and family? It is rude, loud, distracting, and does not add to the therapeutic environment that we should advocate within our hospitals.
  11. by   ElvishDNP
    We don't have a cellphone 'ban' at our hospital. We have certain areas where cellphones aren't allowed but it has nothing to do with interfering with equipment and more to do with maintaining a quieter environment (like NICU). It is easy enough to step outside the banned area and make/take your call.
  12. by   scattycarrot
    Quote from GilaRN
    Why not be honest about cell phone use with staff, patients, and family? It is rude, loud, distracting, and does not add to the therapeutic environment that we should advocate within our hospitals.
    I totally agree with you. Well said!
  13. by   bellehill
    Our cell phone ban has been lifted on my critical care unit. Personally, I have no problem with cell phones and I carry mine with me all shift. It is much easier to text a peer when I need help than to walk to the desk and use the paging system hoping they are wearing their pager. I also like the fact that families can call other family members directly which saves us a lot of phone answering time and transferring calls. I have never seen a cell phone affect any type of machine in my area.
  14. by   CHATSDALE
    i have never seen it interfere with equipment, i have seen it frequently interfere with the work that needs to be done.
    when you tell them to get off the phone and take care of a patient they come off with some absolutely 'good' excuse..MY CHILDREN NEED TO KNOW THEY CAN CALL BE AT ANY TIME'
    i don't knwe why some people apply for a job when they don't want to do the work

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