Texting while doing patient care?

  1. 4
    This was a new one on me and I thought I would throw it out there to the nurses and get your opinion. I was a patient today in an outpatient clinic. I was getting my vitals taken, and as the nurse was putting the blood pressure cuff on me, she pulled out her smart phone and said "wow, three text messages!" I said, "Oh, do you have a child emergency?" She said, "No, a friend with a job crisis," and then as the blood pressure machine was taking my blood pressure, she started reading through/responding to her texts. Then, when the machine was done with the reading, she realized she didn't have a pen to write down the vitals, so she took a picture of the machine readout with her phone (which I thought was...creative).

    Now, as an employee of the facility at which she works, I know that it's against policy to carry around a personal phone and be seen texting while on company time. I personally would never dream of texting while walking around in the halls, but to whip out a phone and start texting while taking someone's vitals? That's just a whole 'nother level. I was completely at a loss for words. Am I the only one who finds that completely appallingly unprofessional, or is that just how it is nowadays? I brought this up at another message board (not nursing related) and another person said that as long as she knew what she was doing and practiced safely, it was all good. I'm of the opinion that I expect my care provider to practice safely AND be professional.

    Thoughts?
    GrnTea, ORoxyO, jtmarcy12, and 1 other like this.
  2. 130 Comments so far...

  3. 9
    Wow - I agree with you. Unprofessional. But then I'm an old fogey - I dislike it when cell phones go off in meetings and people read texts while I'm speaking.

    Hope your outpatient procedure went well!
    mmiriamasher, KeyMaster, havehope, and 6 others like this.
  4. 12
    Yikes. I'd never text during care.

    I DO text at the cart- our phone system is awful here, and all of the nurses and administration communicate via text for the most part. I flipped through my phone, I have 7 work related texts this shift.

    However, I see texting during care as rude, and unprofessional. I'd never consider using my camera to take photos either, as I can see how that would quickly turn into a HIPAA situation.
  5. 18
    That would absolutely not fly with me, whether as the patient or the nursing director (which is what I am IRL). I do not allow my staff to text anywhere but in the break room, when they are ON BREAK. And if I'd been in the OP's situation, I'd probably have said, "Uh, excuse me, am I interrupting something?"

    Besides......taking a picture of a patient's B/P reading is a potential HIPAA violation. I've never heard of such a thing, and would write up any staff member of mine who did so.
    GrnTea, OncRNMichelle, scottrho, and 15 others like this.
  6. 3
    So do nurses really text with each other for work purposes on their personal smart phones during work time? And that's work-sanctioned?

    I know our hospital just sent out a big email about how text/SMS communication has gotten in trouble with HIPAA compliance issues, and a 5-physician group just got a huge fine because they were texting each other and using patient names in their texts.
    GrnTea, Esme12, and Fiona59 like this.
  7. 7
    There is a tendency now to text - we do that with docs now and don't call them. But I don't put any pt information in the text and I'm hospice so I do it after my patient visit and in my car while PARKED.

    I will say that one night the nursing supervisor TEXTED ME that a hospice call had come in . . .yeah, like I'm gonna hear the little beep that signals a text. I missed that message because it came at midnight and I was asleep!!! Another nurse was called because I didn't respond to the text. The nurse called me.

    I was livid. This call involved a patient fall where the patient was all alone.
    GrnTea, KeyMaster, LockportRN, and 4 others like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from klone
    So do nurses really text with each other for work purposes on their personal smart phones during work time? And that's work-sanctioned?

    I know our hospital just sent out a big email about how text/SMS communication has gotten in trouble with HIPAA compliance issues, and a 5-physician group just got a huge fine because they were texting each other and using patient names in their texts.
    I don't know if it's specifically sanctioned, but it happens, a LOT. I don't believe anything has gone through my phone that would be an issue though.

    The hospice nurses are always ticking away at their blackberries- apparently the company has gone 'paperless', but they got blackberries instead of laptops. It drives them NUTS- they are always fussing about not being able to see.
    LockportRN likes this.
  9. 3
    Unbelievable. And to then snap a pic of the BP reading because she didn't have a pen???

    I have never sent (or received) a text to another staff member about an administration or patient issue, it wouldn't even occur to me!

    Besides, I don't even have my phone on me when I'm working, it stays in my bag and I might check it occasionally if I'm expecting a message about something important. Most days I don't even look at it until I get home.
    Ginger80, anie10, and LockportRN like this.
  10. 1
    Maybe she just assumed (you know what happens then) that you would be OK with another employee of the facility texting while she worked...since everyone does it, right? (Ok, not me, and not a lot of people I work with)

    I find it totally inappropriate. Some of our secretaries do it at the nurses station...I guess they are thinking they are not with patients so they can do that rather than do their job. I can not even imagine someone doing it in front of a pt.

    As for taking a pic of the BP reading...well, I think that is fine. Thinking on her feet, I suppose. Although I almost always have a pen with me, and when I don't, I can take the dynamap out of the room and take the BP measurement "with me."
    redhead_NURSE98! likes this.
  11. 0
    I'm with Viva. TOTALLY.


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