New RN texting Dr. advice


I'm a brand new nurse at a very small end of life care facility. I got a new admit when I worked last and I was told I needed to text the facility's MD to let him know the new pt must be seen by a certain time Monday. It's been over a day now and the MD has not responded to my text. I charted that I did contact the doctor and summarized what I said to him in the text. I've never really communicated with MDs much before, but is there a "best way" to text MDs to get them to at least respond with an "ok" to my text to cover my butt? Thanks!


353 Posts

Texting? Like on a cell phone? I've never heard of anyone doing that.


897 Posts

Specializes in CVICU. Has 1 years experience.

Texting is a poor way to communicate information that is work-related. It is very easy for someone to claim they did not see the text. I find it odd that you would be texting a physician regarding a patient anyway, but regardless, you should have called him or paged him. Who told you to text him? Seems very informal for a work related issue.

Specializes in Palliative, Onc, Med-Surg, Home Hospice. Has 6 years experience.

We only page or direct call our MD's. I don't trust them to check a text as they sometimes have to paged 2 or 3 times before calling us back. The only time I have texted anyone from work that was work related was to let my manager know I was going to be late for a meeting and that is because he told me to text him if I was going to be late.

It's too easy to miss a text. If you call or page, you have a better chance of getting them (and if they don't return their page after 3 pages, call overhead if that is an option.) It'


353 Posts

I would be afraid of texting the wrong number, someone other than the doctor reading patient information, lost phone etc... Just doesn't seem professional to me.

klone, MSN, RN

14,490 Posts

Specializes in OB-Gyn/Primary Care/Ambulatory Leadership. Has 17 years experience.

Also, private phones are not secure, and texting PHI to someone via text is a huge HIPAA violation.

NicuGal, MSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

We text on a program on our computers. It is becoming more common now. It comes across their beeper.

Whenyou don't get a response you need to follow up and make sure to chart it.

Specializes in Med/surg, Onc.

We use txt paging via the computer too. So you txt them based on their name.

They aren't considered secure so txt would read "pt in 215 is here -my name RN and four digit extension" or "pt in 245 requesting a shower order" etc. they aren't used for things I need an answer or response to immediately (I'd call them directly or have paging service page them directly) but good for things I need but don't need a phone call. There's record of it in the system and a note I put in as well. If I don't hear back within a couple hours (or by the end of my shift) I call directly.

allnurses Guide

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

4 Articles; 7,907 Posts

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.
Texting? Like on a cell phone? I've never heard of anyone doing that.

It's become rather common nowadays. That's how I communicate with half of my MDs at their request...mind you, I'm not sharing PHI via text, but it's more for things like, "you have a new patient, please call me." Important/PHI stuff gets communicated in person or over the phone and documented.

OP: if you hadn't heard from the MD within a designated time, you need to pick up the phone and call them. I would not let a whole day go before doing that...IMO, if they haven't responded in a couple of hours, then you need to call them.


3,726 Posts

I haven't had a text to an MD not responded to with at least an "ok". If they haven't responded assume they didn't receive it for whatever reason, you have to comtinue to continue to contact them just as you would if a page or call wasn't answered timely to the situation.

I use it in home care. I have the numbers confirmed and set in my phone. Also lets me know that the responses are legit. It works great for quick responses. We use initials and some type of identifying info ie B.D female CVA (Per company instruction) Contact has already been established of course and we've been working together with said patient and communication was expected. Nothing out of the blue.

nrsang97, BSN, RN

2,602 Posts

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 22 years experience.
We text on a program on our computers. It is becoming more common now. It comes across their beeper.

Whenyou don't get a response you need to follow up and make sure to chart it.

This is what I thought the OP was speaking of. We have a similar program. I believe ours is called intellidesk.


6 Posts

There are no in house MDs at my facility. I was told to text the MD by a senior nurse and when I was hired the administrator told me that the MDs prefer texts over phone calls. I did not violate HIPAA in any way because I used no identifying information for the patient, only the room number and that it was a new patient. The new patient came in an hour before the end of my shift and expecting the MD to text me back within less than an hour on a Friday night seems unreasonable. The patient needs to be seen by the MD this coming Monday by the early evening so there is still time for the MD to see the pt. Unfortunately no one really has answered my initial question. So, can someone give me an example of how they would text the MD and politely indicate that they would also like the MD to text back so the RN knows the MD got the text properly? Thanks again.