Mobile phones in theatre

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    I am having a bit of a problem here with one particular intern (not even a surgeon) who constantly brings her mobile phone in the OR with her. The other day i asked her if she was on call, she wasn't. I then refused to answer her mobile because as far as i'm concerned i'm not working as a secretary, i'm here to provide patient care. I told her that answering her phone was not my job and she replied with we all have to do things that aren't in our job description....BTW I didn't answer it that day i just kept pressing the red button and cutting all the callers off.

    Yesterday she was in our OR and of course the mobile came with her. She was on call and i told her that if i wasn't busy then i would answer the phone and take BRIEF messages. The phone did not stop ringing. When i was actually doing the count with the scrub the phone rang and she demanded i answer it. I sweetly told her that a surgical count should be uninterrupted please. When i answered her phone it was usually ppl trying to give me tons of info on a patient. Some even tried to have me interrupt the procedure just to inform her about so and so on this ward.

    I have to say i was a bit curt, and did not have much time for the callers. I was scouting and my focus was on my scrub and patient not on her phone. I just told them that I can't do anything to help them and i'm not interrupting the surgery unless it is URGENT and to just give me their name and details and to call them back.

    I mean this is ridiculous. There is a person on the table requiring a surgical procedure and her assistance, why is she being so easily distracted? Why put ppl on call who are in theatre? And why not leave it with their unit secretary?

    Does anyone else here have this problem? What is your hospital policy on mobile phones in theatre? My hospital doesn't allow mobiles in theatre at all, but it's a bit of a joke.

    I have decided to take this further and talk to management. I'm sick to death of being treated like a secretary. Sorry this is a bit of a vent but i'm so fed up.
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Hasn't she heard of an answering service? Why not quietly put her phone on silent ring? ;-)
    Remind her that interrupting your count or other OR activities poses a danger to her patient! How would she feel if she left a needle in the patient because you were taking her phone messages?
    Scrubby likes this.
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    Fortunately i haven't had too much of a problem with this. I don't think our hospital has a policy on this because all surgeons, residents, med. students and assistants bring their cell phones into the operating room. I HATE answering pages or cell phones period, even the surgeon's. One time i wanted to throw this doc's pager against the wall and break it because he was getting called ALOT for stupid stuff and it was interfering with me getting my paperwork done AND these calls were making him in a bad mood. Its distracting and it interferes with patient care. And i feel the same way, i am no secretary. If i wanted to be a secretary i would be working behind a desk answering phones and taking messages. Its BS!!! I think its a good idea to take this matter to management. Hopefully they will do something about it.
    Last edit by IsseyM on Dec 5, '07
    Scrubby likes this.
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    Our docs bring cell phones/pagers into the OR but they've been trained to not to have us drop everything to answer them. I also feel that the patient is my priority not the cell phone. I have to carry a cell phone because I run the board in my service on evenings. But when I'm circulating a case, I turn it off. I do this because my patient deserves my utmost concentration. If one of the docs or the desk needs me urgently, they can always call into the room or come find me.


    I have also heard of OR's where docs are not allowed to bring cell phones/pagers into the OR, but I have never seen such a place. It would be Utopia, I think!
    Scrubby likes this.
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    I think it is an unnecessary distraction from the patient. While the docs here do bring pagers and sometimes phones, they ask the number and if not important, they will call later. I think that is how it should be done. We have to remember that sometimes they have many patients under their care and some may have grave consequences if certain calls are not answered. I think that calls from wives/hubbies or friends are not acceptable…besides you are paid to monitor the patient, document, etc… (for the best interest of the patient) and are not the answering service of the doc.
    Scrubby and GadgetRN71 like this.
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    I am a former asst dir. of surgery. I required ALL cell phones and pagers be left with the "front desk" personnel. The nurses loved it but secretaries sure didn't. Too bad. I explained to the office personnel that the care of Pts. on the table would NOT be interrupted. If there was an issue with this policy (with a surgeon) I handled it. If a "busy" doc was on call, I often carried his/her beeper myself. You'd be surprised how many of the unnecessary phone calls stopped.
    Last edit by ebear on Dec 16, '07
    Scrubby and GadgetRN71 like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from ebear
    I am a former asst dir. of surgery. I required ALL cell phones and pagers be left with the "front desk" personnel. The nurses loved it but secretaries sure didn't. Too bad. I explained to the office personnel that the care of Pts. on the table would NOT be interrupted. If there was an issue with this policy (with a surgeon) I handled it. If a "busy" doc was on call, I often carried his/her beeper myself. You'd be surprised how many of the unnecessary phone calls stopped.
    I think that is how it should be done!!! Screen all calls and only direct them into the OR if emergent.
    Scrubby likes this.
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    I wish we could go back to having beepers and cell phones left at front desk. It's a pain trying to do all the things we're supposed to do + answer cells and beepers. Management won't back us tho, so we're stuck.
    My priority is to the pt. so I ignore them till I can get to them. MD's get huffy but tough, I ask them "who's more important at this point?" They usually back down.


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