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Nurse cannot take report because she/he on break can you call back in 30 minutes?


Has anyone heard this saying before? How did you respond?

I cannot find any sort of policy at my institution for situations like this.

I normally let this slide depending on the acuity of the patient. However if its a ICU level, I immediately ask for break relief RN or the charge RN.


Has 36 years experience.

Exactly what you say. Let it slide depending on the acuity of the patient. An ICU transfer involve the ICU relief or charge nurse. If that doesn't work involve your charge nurse.

It's "nice" to have something written, a policy, to cover every urgent to annoying situation. But in over 30 years of nursing I've realized policies are specifically vague, thus unhelpful most of the time.

I did have one ER nurse at the end of her shift bring me a copy of our policy that said two weeks notice was not required and to take her off the schedule as of now.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

I work ICU. Unless I need to move the patient quickly because we need the bed for an urgent transfer or admission, I wait. The patient is not in any danger, and have worked floors and stepdown units and know how difficult fitting in lunch can be.


Has 36 years experience.

I wasn't sure if HalfBoiled was transferring a patient to ICU, or out of ICU.

I assumed the patient was going to ICU thus more urgent.


Specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg. Has 20 years experience.

23 minutes ago, brownbook said:

I wasn't sure if HalfBoiled was transferring a patient to ICU, or out of ICU.

I assumed the patient was going to ICU thus more urgent.

Yeah that is not clear.

OP. It may or not make a difference depending on the situation. When I first started nursing we were very cordial in the transfers, calling back if needed etc (unless it was an emergent case). Fast forward 20 yrs later and admin states no need to call and give report bc the charge knows the pt is coming, so nurses are just transferring pts and leaving them in the hallways on gurneys or putting them in the room without the nurse even knowing they are there much less getting report.

Sour Lemon

Has 11 years experience.

That happens all the time at my hospital. People go on break when they find out they're getting an admission. ER might need an hour before they're ready to call report, so it doesn't always make sense to wait. It can put you even further behind.

The nurses at my hospital are rather cooperative and will usually wait. On the flip side, when ER is swamped, we won't even keep them on the phone for report. We just tell them to go ahead and transfer and we look up what we need to know in the chart. Details can be clarified if needed, of course.

Beatlefan, BSN

Specializes in Cardiac, Transplant, Intermediate Care. Has 15 years experience.

I left nursing after a 13 year career due to "games" just like this. No one wants to train anyone properly. No one wants to help coworkers. My support staff got to the point where they would outright tell me "no", and management informed me that this generation of 20-somethings were raised to think it is acceptable to say no.
I went into nursing because I wanted a career where I could help people, get some good feelings back from helping people, develop professional but close working relationships/work as a team, and get paid. Nursing is NOT the place for those things to happen.
Calling to give or get report and having yet another institution/floor or unit play the game tells me that this is pretty much universal. Nursing was a game; from the minute you show up for your shift, you are seeing who is working (team players/non-team players), patient loads and acuity, if your charge nurse will sit and socialize all shift or actually do his/her job, if your support staff are lazy (do they "hide", not answer call lights, get vitals, blood glucoses, assist with toileting and cares), and finally, your nurse co-workers- who will actually help you if you need it, would be good in an emergency, etc.
Ironically, the non-team player co-workers are most often the ones who will raise holy hell with the ED or outside hospital for not sitting on the phone and giving them the most thorough report they have ever heard. You just can't win, and I really only miss the sweet people I was privileged to care for.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

It depends. At my old job the CICU was constantly busy so if they needed the bed right away I would just take report for the nurse on break and then go give report to the nurse receiving the pt. At my current job the ICU and ER are notorious for holding onto pt's so we began writing down the times of when the bed was assigned, when they called report, and when the pt actually arrived on the floor. It's amazing how after we started doing that there was a decrease in delay of transfers......weird.

It was also common for cath lab at my old job to send cath pt's, sometimes with arterial sheaths still in, right at shift change. That eventually changed too once my ANM said he would personally watch the pt until the receiving nurse got report but that when the next meeting with the director's he would be sure to bring it up.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

I wouldn’t dream of interrupting a colleague’s break... they are off the clock and recharging.

If it’s an urgent need to get the bed freed up (I work in SICU) I’ll ask for the floor charge nurse

11blade, RN

Specializes in OR.

On 4/22/2020 at 11:39 AM, Daisy4RN said:

admin states no need to call and give report bc the charge knows the pt is coming, so nurses are just transferring pts and leaving them in the hallways on gurneys or putting them in the room without the nurse even knowing they are there much less getting report.

I hope you realize that this is textbook definition of abandonment. If the transfering nurse allowed this to happen, and, some harm came to the patient on the floor, the nurse would have to answer Board of Nursing charges, NOT administration.

They tried a variation of this in a place I worked years ago. Manager said in am report that they were going to do a 'new' thing in transferring patients out of PACU to the floors. I, the PACU RN (also the pt's OR RN, too) would just write up a report sheet, fax it to the floor, and send the patient up with a transporter (non medical assistive person). I looked at the form, which didn't have a form number assigned by the institution and asked when it passed the forms committee. Mgr looked like a deer in headlights...'committee'. Any form or change to policy and procedure has to be passed by the hospital committe prior to being instituted. It gets reviewed, especially by risk mgmt (legal team), with yay or nay. She said it hadn't gone thru committee, so I told her I wouldn't be doing that until it did...end of that crap!

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Level of transfer is not the issue. Order has been written, sending nurse is ready to give report. Whoever is covering the assigned nurse takes report .

11blade, RN

Specializes in OR.

The level of transport is not the issue. The receiving nurse did not get report prior to the patient being dumped on the floor. What if all nurses are responding to an emergency on the floor at the time the patient is put in a room? What if the covering nurse has an emergency with her own patients, or is otherwise tied up and cannot get report or see the patient? If you, the transferring nurse, cannot document that you transferred care to an equally competent level of care (another RN), you risk charges of abandonment. A fax report to a fax machine does not meet that nursing standard in any state.

Here's an example: Nurse A in ER faxes report to floor at 1145hrs. Nurse B (receiving nurse) is off floor on lunch break. Nurse C (covering nurse) doesn't get fax paper as she and every other able body on floor is passing out trays or helping feed patients. Transporter drops patient off in room unseen by floor staff (busy in patient rooms). Patient suffers some bad outcome after arrival on floor and there was a delay in nurse admitting pt to floor.

Who's license is on the line? The transporting nurse. The receiving nurse could 'lose' the fax paper and claim there was no notice of transfer and no report given on patient.