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?
  2. Enjoy this?

    Join thousands and get our weekly Nursing Insights newsletter with the hottest discussions, articles, and toons.


  3. Visit  klone profile page

    About klone, BSN, RN

    klone has '10' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'OB/Gyn, research, lactation,'. From 'Denver, CO, US'; Joined Apr '03; Posts: 8,379; Likes: 15,718.

    130 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    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.
  5. Visit  Lynx25 profile page
    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.
  6. Visit  VivaLasViejas profile page
    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.
  7. Visit  klone profile page
    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.
  8. Visit  Spidey's mom profile page
    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.
  9. Visit  Lynx25 profile page
    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.
  10. Visit  CompleteUnknown profile page
    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.
  11. Visit  psu_213 profile page
    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.
  12. Visit  ebear profile page
    0
    I'm with Viva. TOTALLY.
  13. Visit  mama_d profile page
    0
    It's not unusual on my floor when we're looking for someone who's willing to come in when we're short staffed to text those we're friends with outside of work to see if they're willing to come in...a lot of us just don't answer the phone when it's staffing calling us. However, it's never done at or near the bedside. I do send personal texts sometimes when I'm at work sometimes (99% of the time back and forth with hubby about kid issues)...again, though, not near the bedside. And although I'm far from the youngest on the floor (and contrary to what my teenagers believe), I'm not quite an old fogey yet.
  14. Visit  WeepingAngel profile page
    7
    People are wicked rude with their phones and texting these days. I had a youngish patient the other day and he was texting the whole time that I was doing his admission.
  15. Visit  jadelpn profile page
    6
    Beyond irritating to try to speak to a coworker and have them paying attention to their phone. Or to give report. I can't imagine what the patient was thinking when this was happening. I have said before--stopping in mid sentence--Oh, I see you have texts you need to deal with. Are they priority or should I finish my report to you?
    And about texting work stuff between employees--privacy law violation--unless your phones are "encrypted" and for in house use only, this could get you in some hot water.
    GrnTea, merrywhiterose, Ruas61, and 3 others like this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

Top