At my facility, unit clerks do not page physicians. That task falls to the person who needs to get in touch with said physician. As for answering the phones in general, I'm more irked about the fact that the unit clerk will take a break at their convenience, not at the convenience of the staff, leaving the nurses and PCAs to answer the phones and call lights. Someone else can get the phone. It's not exclusive to the ASA. Someone else is not going to start a blood transfusion. That's exclusive to me.
If you aren't sure which person is going to respond, a simple "I'll send someone down for you," is more appropriate. When unit clerks begin allowing patients to summon the nurse to the room, and the nurse then fetches things, and the patient associates the nurse as the ONLY person who can do that.
Yes, you're correct, a patient is entitled to request to speak to their nurse, and I don't mind attending to those calls. But those instances are rare.
I truly do appreciate each member of the healthcare team, but it really does get old to constantly be the 'go to' or 'fall guy' for absolutely EVERYTHING.