Hospital requiring personal cell phones for patient care

by krekear krekear (New) New

Hi all!
My hospital has announced that we will be required to use our cell phones for patient care. This includes paging doctors, calling for assistance in rooms, and calling out in the event of an emergency. I work in labor and delivery and until recently we have always used wireless phones for these things - especially stat situations I.e baby in the bed, open the OR, calling for NICU, etc.

Are other people utilizing their cell phones for patient care, including stat situations? Can the hospital really force us to do that? Are they liable if my phone is damaged in a emergent situation? Looking for insight! I can’t believe it’s gone from no cell phones on the unit to everyone is required to have their cell phone on the unit 🙄


Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion. Has 44 years experience.

NO, NO, NO....... not HIPAA compliant. 🙄 🙄 😤 😤

Send this "requirement" to your Risk Management/ Compliance officer for their input. Stupid cost cutting plan.....Could be very costly mistake for facility if hacker gets hold of patient info or alters messages being sent.

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

"Oh bummer! Wouldn't you know it? I just cancelled my cell phone and had a landline put back in. Dang!"

Quota, BSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology. Has 2 years experience.

The only work related use my cell phone gets is using tiger text (encrypted service) to message doctors. The nurses on my unit were recently granted access to use tiger text, in general most nurses at our hospital do not have access to tiger text at this time. I think we are in a pilot group getting access. We still have hospital issued spectra link phones to use on our shift for normal communication. In general some doctors are either not reachable through the hospital paging system or are just slow/bad at responding timely or at all. So far all the doctors I’ve contacted through the tiger text system have responded quickly and things have gone much smoother than paging. We do have to use our personal cell phones to use tiger text but it is an optional thing, not required. I will say 90% of my tiger text usage has been with our oncologists who do know me vs medical attending I might not know well or at all.

Ado Annie, ASN

Has 8 years experience.

We did/do at one of my jobs. Now I feel almost hobbled when I want to get a quick message to a doc but have to go through the rigmarole of paging them and waiting for a call back.

Whether I am at home or in my home health patient’s residence, or even in my car, my employers have expected me to use my personal cell phone, on or off duty to respond to their summons. This has gone on for many years now. Part of that beck and call mentality.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

I don't carry a cell phone. Would I lose my job if I worked there? Would they be willing to pay for hiring and training my replacement? That's crazy!


Has 20 years experience.

So what is the plan if a Nurse breaks or looses their phone and doesn't have it available? They have to leave the patient or scream for help and hope someone hears?

On 7/16/2020 at 4:06 AM, krekear said:

This includes paging doctors, calling for assistance in rooms, and calling out in the event of an emergency. I work in labor and delivery and until recently we have always used wireless phones for these things - especially stat situations I.e baby in the bed, open the OR, calling for NICU, etc.

They can not be serious! This basically places the responsibility for ensuring timely communication in an emergency situation onto the nurse's personal cell phone plan. Several hospitals that I have worked at have had black spots where you had no cell phone reception or where only certain carriers had reception. I would reach out to risk management. Surely they see the huge problems (potential liability) with this idea.

Edited by kp2016

That’s basically my argument kp2016! With covid many of us have gotten so used to not keeping our cells with us. We have always used WiFi phones for communication. Anyone who works labor knows it’s very much a team sport - you need extra hands constantly! Recently our “refurbished WiFi phones” have been breaking so we have literally resorted to screaming for help or hitting the patient’s call bell (which doesn’t help because my unit does not respond well to call bells. It’s a part of our culture that needs to change esp not having the WiFi phones). Since this has been implemented I’ve literally delivered two of my own babies because I couldn’t get ahold of a doc fast enough.

And guess what? I JUST don't WANT TO USE MY CELL PHONE. Taking it in and out in patient rooms, having to potentially handle it with dirty gloves, having the volume on so personal and professional messages are constantly ringing, having to explain to the patient “no I’m not texting my boyfriend in front of you.” If I drop my phone while working - like pulling it out in an emergency - do I get reimbursed for damages? NOPE! When the *** WiFi cuts out, do I get reimbursed for data? NOPE! Management just keeps saying it’s the direction everyone is going - that’s really why I posted this, because I wanted to see if it’s true or not.

MiladyMalarkey, ASN, BSN

Specializes in Neuro. Has 2 years experience.

Suddenly I no longer carry a cell phone😄

That's kinda crazy in a hospital setting imo, in a home health setting I could kinda see maybe. And I just think of all the dead zones in my facility, a cell would be worthless a good part of the time.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Nope nope nope. Not only is it not HIPAA compliant and all the risk that goes with that, not only do they have to reimburse you for the cost of your phone if they do this. If you have work stuff on your phone they are entitled to seize and wipe it before you leave if you quit or are fired. HARD NO. They do not have the right to "require" me to use my personal property in the care of patients.