How do nurses work with headphones on?

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How is possible? I'm sure patients are getting ignored. At two different places I've worked, nurses, aides,  and respiratory therapists  had earpieces  in their ear or headphones on  and were talking on their cell phones while handing out medication. It was their own personal cells and they were having full fledged conversations. Others were listening to music( and I know because I could hear it) about three had no earpiece in but were playing the music loudly on their cellphones while walking down the hall and on duty. 
 

I know it isn't for emergencies either. I could understand if it was for that. I've witnessed a nurse who was on her cell talking the whole time during med pass. 

I want to go as far to say this is unprofessional. 

 

Is this normal where you guys work? 

Hoosier_RN, MSN

3,714 Posts

Specializes in dialysis. Has 30 years experience.

We had a couple in my clinic doing this. It's dangerous,  yes, patients getting ignored, or at least not full attention. My boss stopped that quick!

Has 2 years experience.

I have done that because you want to not be drawn into the work gossip. I keep it low enough to hear my patients, or if they aren't on when someone tries to gossip I point to my ear like in on the phone. But job gossip is so crazy 

Specializes in LPN. Has 5 years experience.

I put in one AirPod and hide it under my hair. We wear them to stay sane during an insane med pass dealing with insane people.

Has 2 years experience.
ButterflyBuns said:

I put in one AirPod and hide it under my hair. We wear them to stay sane during an insane med pass dealing with insane people.

Exactly @ButterflyBuns

Davey Do

1 Article; 10,253 Posts

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years). Has 44 years experience.

Loving what we do and are- working as nurses- means being in the here and now. The utilization of headphones and earbuds can be an indication that we want to be somewhere else. I instead of dealing with and being focused on the duties at hand, we distract ourselves with music.

Ambient music is better because it adds to the reality of the moment and can even make our surroundings more pleasant, without distracting us.

Directly addressing stressors, such as those who inappropriately distract us, is a more mentally healthy method of dealing with those stressors. Wearing earbuds could be perceived akin to taking a pain med and not pursuing the cause of the pain. It's a short-term fix, for there will always be those who are distractingly obnoxious.

If we learn coping mechanisms in order to deal with stressors, we elevate our own self-esteem and our reputation for being focused and competent professionals becomes carved in concrete.

JBMmom, MSN, NP

4 Articles; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 11 years experience.

I have had a couple coworkers with one air pod in at times that are still engaged and working. I have had, unfortunately, more coworkers that completely ignore everything around them, including their patients, and are talking on the phone or listening/watching movies/tik tok, etc. I work night shift which I think is the only way they get away with it. Back when I was charge and a full time employee I would reiterate that headphones are against work policy. Now I just go and do my work and keep my head down. 

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 37 years experience.

In the two countries I've worked in (France and the UK), never ever no way.

The OP is correct to suggest it's unprofessional. It is.

Specializes in Home Health,Peds. Has 19 years experience.

I could see it being OK when you are doing notes or at the desk, but passing meds? 
 

 

Specializes in LPN. Has 5 years experience.
JBMmom said:

I have had a couple coworkers with one air pod in at times that are still engaged and working. I have had, unfortunately, more coworkers that completely ignore everything around them, including their patients, and are talking on the phone or listening/watching movies/tik tok, etc. I work night shift which I think is the only way they get away with it. Back when I was charge and a full time employee I would reiterate that headphones are against work policy. Now I just go and do my work and keep my head down. 

what else are they supposed to do on their down time at work on nights? sleep in between checking on patients? nothing is wrong with watching a movie or being on phone when you're literally trying to stay awake, while making sure patients are safe. do you micromanage for sport?

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 37 years experience.
ButterflyBuns said:

what else are they supposed to do on their down time at work on nights? sleep in between checking on patients? nothing is wrong with watching a movie or being on phone when you're literally trying to stay awake, while making sure patients are safe. do you micromanage for sport?

I'm a night nurse and on quiet nights if I've looked up all the lab results I was interested in and the patient reports I didn't get around to looking at, I read my book or surf the net and drink my coffee. I take your point about there being "down time" on nights - part of our job at night is to promote good sleep and you can't create work, and yes, staying awake can be very difficult some nights. However, posts above referred to nurses wearing headphones during med-pass etc. That, quite frankly is just disgusting. If you're that disinterested in your work - leave. 

JBMmom, MSN, NP

4 Articles; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 11 years experience.
ButterflyBuns said:

what else are they supposed to do on their down time at work on nights? sleep in between checking on patients? nothing is wrong with watching a movie or being on phone when you're literally trying to stay awake, while making sure patients are safe. do you micromanage for sport?

If you're at work, being paid, then outside of the legally required breaks- you're not on your own time, or free to act as though you are at home. I understand the challenges of working night shift, I've been doing it for six years now. I don't micromanage, but when I'm in charge of the unit, I'm partially responsible for the appearance projected by the nurses and techs working on my shift. If people are sitting around on their phones, watching movies, etc- we have family members in and out of the unit, alert and oriented patients that can see staff members, coworkers from other departments we work with, and projecting an unprofessional attitude is not okay. 

There are MANY things that could, and should, be done if people are actively working on patient care. And it starts with developing a thorough understanding of the patients. Nurses should know the labs, the pending and completed tests, the course of treatment and plan of care. Things can get missed in the busier day shifts and so night nurses should be making a concerted effort to ensure that orders are all accurate, are there recommendations in consult notes that weren't carried out? When the provider arrives in the morning, those are issues that I as a nurse should be bringing forward to improve patient care.

Beyond that there are literally hundreds of things that could be done to improve the overall appearance and organization of any unit. Checking the lab vials to make sure they're not expired, organizing the cabinets in patient rooms or back closets, that are full of unnecessary or disorganized supplies. These are things that I spend many hours of my nights trying to get on top of. I have NEVER sat around and watched a movie, or talked on the phone, when there were things that could be done to improve direct or indirect patient care. Not micromanaging, doing the job I'm paid for.