So I am new to LTC as this is my first job outside of the hospital setting. At my new facility it is commonplace for the nurses to text the doctors/NP's with questions and asking for orders USING THEIR PERSONAL CELL PHONES. Yes patient personal information is being shared in these texts, sometimes pictures of the wounds as well. When I was confronted with this situation, I refused. When I asked how I could reach these providers, I was ignored till hours later or told by supervisors that they would text the providers for me. This doesn't feel right to me. It seems as if a HIPPA violation is still occuring and I don't want to be apart of it, but so many nurses at this new facility do this, that I feel pressured to use my personal device as well. I'm affraid of security and theft, not to mention my own personal privacy. In the hospital we use phones and email provided by the hosptial. I see doctors in the hospital carrying two phones: one for business, and one for personal use. I brought the issue up to my DON, and she shrugged it off saying "No, we don't require you to use your cell phone" but said nothing of the practice by most of the nursing staff. I want to advocate for my patients, but I don't want to get myself in a sticky situation. Are the HIPPA laws different for LTC?
Here is an interesting article on the topic: Hospitalists Should Refrain from Texting Patient Information | The Hospitalist
I agree that it is a HIPPA violation and really wish that our facility would provide cell phones for each hall since we are 9 times out of 10 not at the nurses station to place a call or receive a call. And hearing the page over the intercom? You cannot hear squat in patient rooms!
However, one of our doctors at the facility utilizes something called YouCallMD
where we can log in and send the doctor a message and it'll go to whoever the on-call is as well. I REALLY love this because I can send a secure message from the laptop on the cart and go about my business.
We've also had a nurse (prior to my time) who had been fired for calling either a family member or doctor using their cell instead of the facility. I don't see an issue using my own cell to call the physician since it is on me at all times but apparently our facility won't use our phone records and only the facility's (I've been told) if something comes up and they have to check records. (Like for example: a doctor says he wasn't called but you documented you did call in a lab.)
So, I try to call from the facility but often I am so slammed I use my cell. Oh well! I do text one of our ARNPs with questions however, without trying to disclose information, if I've already talked to her about the patient via phone. She loves teaching and has no problem texting me back as long as it isn't midnight or later, haha.
I say go with your gut. Do what is right. Don't follow suit. Make it clear to physicians you cannot use your personal cell and it is ridiculous you don't have numbers for them... We have numbers posted at all of the desks but I've saved them in my phone to quickly pull it as well.
Edit: Curious if survey was coming up if you guys would be suddenly given "the numbers."
Best of luck,
Last edit by nurseburst on Mar 16
: Reason: See edit