Doctors taking too long to call back...

Specialties Geriatric


Hey everyone, just wondering how you handle doctors that take awhile to get back to you? Of course it's usually no big deal, but for example, if you had a critical lab value. I'm thinking of a specific example, because I left a message with the doctor's secretary (charted the time, her name, and message communicated), then again in an hour or two when I hadn't heard back. The next shift got ahold of the doctor and patient went to the hospital. I guess I'm just wondering if I could have done anything else? I'm a nurse in my first year, working at my second LTC facility, first time on 7-3 shift. Thanks for any responses!!

CapeCodMermaid, RN

6,090 Posts

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.

Call. Give him/her half an hour to call back.Call again. If that doesn't work and you really need to speak to someone, call your medical director. That's why you have one.


1,114 Posts

Specializes in PACU, pre/postoperative, ortho.

Our docs are to return pages within 15 minutes. No answer, page again x2. Then we start going thru supervisor & on up until we reach the doc. (Small hospital btw)

Not too long ago, there was an issue getting hold of an MD & chief of medicine ended up getting involved & giving orders for the pt. Apparently, there was a little talking to after that because we no longer have issues with that particular doctor returning pages. :)

NurseNightOwl, BSN, RN

1 Article; 225 Posts

OK thank you :)


76 Posts

Specializes in Progressive Care Unit.

In our hospital, we call again after 30 minutes if we did not get a callback. If no response after 3rd attempt, we let the house supervisor know and they give the doctor a call.

Mn nurse 22

103 Posts

We are also allowed to call for an ambulance if a resident is in severe distress, before we call the MD. After the resident leaves we call the MD and get an order to send to the hospital. This is only for emergencies, fall with acute injury, severe respiratory distress, etc. but it keeps the residents from waiting any longer than necessary.

Are you allowed to fax information? During day shift I make a call to the doctor's nurse but immediately send a fax that she an hand to MD. We have to call back and follow up if we haven't gotten a response in an hour.


1,076 Posts

Call. Give him/her half an hour to call back.Call again. If that doesn't work and you really need to speak to someone' date=' call your medical director. That's why you have one.[/quote']

Thats exactly what we do. We keep calling. Then, as stated, we called the medical director.


50 Posts

Will text if non emergent, non critical, not a trough, If high or low but previous labs have indicated what a pt baseline is then I see from there. Doctors have specif stated"call me with mrs. X lab values when.p received then I do...and don't delegate. Pt/inr can be texted... Unless of course a value is very different a the last. Very important to notify when c+s obtained. Often pt will be started on an abt when symptomatic and past hx... And often the abt will change.


50 Posts

And in an emergency, exercise judgment. Sometimes you gotta be persistent .. And doctors may get mad but really what's them yelling at you for disturbing them..if you saved a life or prevented complications.

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