There are so many different ways of keeping in touch with people than there used to be when I was growing up. In addition to picking up the phone, people have email, face book, instant messaging, phone texting, twitter/tweeting. It has even traveled across into my nursing career. I don't want to come across as a techno-phob, but there are times when I wonder what is wrong with the way things used to be? I sometimes feel like we are losing a portion of our humanity in face to face contact, in lieu of easy access.I'm speaking specifically about the phone issue on our new floor. My unit was just relocated and revamped to become "modern" and "nurse/patient" user friendly. I'm not sure who they spoke to about this design, but I doubt they had spent any time actually working as a nurse. I was used to the "old call light system." The patient would press a button in their room if they needed something, a light would go on out at the desk. The nurses or aids would see that a light was on, during the day you could call into the room from the desk, and ask the patient what they needed, so you could send the correct person. It was fairly simple, but it worked well. Instead of putting in a call light system, during the move they decided to install phone systems. Now all nurses and CNAs have to program what rooms they have, and carry around a heavy, industrial phone. When a patient rings, it will go directly to the nurse, who has to speak over the phone to the patient in the room to find out what they need. In theory, this is a great idea. The patient has immediate access to the nurse. That would be wonderful, if the nurse to patient ratio was only one to one. Unfortunately, it is usual for us to have six or seven patients during a shift. I find myself constantly being called by other patients when I am in the middle of assessing or caring for another. I feel that each patient is deserving of their own, one on one time. How rude must it seem to the patients to be in the middle of a conversation with the nurse, when the phone rings at their belt, and the nurse has to break off therapeutic communication to answer it? Cell phones are not allowed in hospitals while on duty because the facility doesn't want staff talking on them, and it looks unprofessional to have ring tones alarming from a caregivers pocket in front of the patient. WHY would they decide to go to a phone system then? Nothing on admission is in place to alert the patients that those big gray phones everyone is talking on is a hospital communication system. I've gotten numerous baleful looks from my older patients when I answer the phone in their room. They obviously believe that I am carrying on personal business while I should be working. The other issue I have is that outside or desk business comes into the rooms as well. I am caring for patient x, when patient y's family calls for an update. Instead of getting a call back number and the nurse returning their call, it is sent directly into the room. Physicians also are patched through, asking questions, or requesting lab results on a patient who's chart is out at the desk. What about HIPPA violations? Each time the phone rings in that case, I have to excuse myself from the room, and run for the chart to answer the questions or get the results.Another issue that we have come up against is infection control. Numerous patients are admitted with isolation precautions in place. MRSA, VRE, C-Diff, ESBL, all require the staff to gown and glove when entering the room. If my phone is in my pocket, and I have an isolation gown on, each time it alarms I have to remove the gloves, gown, and wash my hands before answering it.I've decided to boycott by not answering when I am actively caring for my patients, but this has led to friction from other staff who are trying to reach me, or medical staff/family being on hold so long they hang up. When they call back, they are upset because they perceived that their call is being ignored. There are times when I would give anything for a simple tap bell.