Phone calls


How do most facilities handle phone calls to the maternity floor ?? We have had incidents where patients present problems to the nurse answering expecting advice. There have been adverse outcomes and somehow it boils down to conflict over the nurse's advice. I feel there should be a policy written that NO clinical questions be answered whatever and the patient referred to their provider. There would then never be a "he said - she said" situation if policy stated that no clinical info be given at any time for any reason. Sad that we have evolved into such a litigious society and nurses have to practice defensively, but that is the way it is.

Quickbeam, BSN, RN

1,011 Posts

Specializes in Government.

I worked on a pediatric floor for 5 years and we got direct calls from the public all night, every night. We gave no clinical information or advice whatsoever. There was no way that was ever going to have a good outcome.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

Same here. We just tell people we are not allowed to give advice over the phone and recommend they call the physician or go to ER.


4 Posts

Specializes in Labor and Delivery. Has 3 years experience.

We don't give any advice out either. We Tell them if they have a concern to contact their doctor or if it is after hours and they feel like they need to be seen, to come in to the hospital. We also have a phone triage book that we have to fill out on these calls if they give their name.


153 Posts

We do not have an official policy on phone calls. Most of us say that we are not allowed to give advice, call your provider or come to the ER. Now we are being asked to keep a log......oh my, one more thing to write in !! It will still boil down to a "he said, she said " thing in MHO.............and you know who always wins !!!


1,051 Posts

They stopped that in Memphis a while ago, but I don't know about here in Illinois.

Specializes in L&D. Has 54 years experience.

I will answer some questions over the phone. I'll go over the signs of labor, or infant dehydration symptoms for moms with breastfeeding problems. Every caller gets told that I can't tell what's going on over the phone and that if they have any further questions, they should call their provider or come to the ER


171 Posts

Specializes in OB.

We were recently told at a staff meeting not to give advice on the phone, but I dont know if its policy, but it should be. I dont give advice anymore because I was yelled at for telling a vbac it didnt sound like she was in active labor and could stay home a while longer if she wanted. Eventually she came in, was 1cm, and 6 hrs later had a uterine tear with no problems, but I got yelled at because they wanted someone to blame. I'm still new at this and was just following my fellow nurses lead. Oops

We have a phone log for labor/delivery/pregnancy questions. We always welcome the mom's to come in for evaluation but do have some guidelines to follow. Like come in when in active labor (then give them signs of that) any question of ROM come in no matter what, etc... So that way we do not have mom's coming in b/c they haven't felt the baby move for 20 minutes. And haven't even tried to lay down and do fetal kick counts.

I will say we do get questions about infants since our small hospital does not have a pediatric unit. We do not keep track of these calls though. I personally tell parents to call their provider or the provider on call if I am totally clueless about their question/situation. Our hospital operator will do that for them or come to the ER if it sounds more serious.

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