Thanks for the reply, Orca. I tend to agree with you; so many people abuse these devices that enforcing a blanket rule might be the best option. I personally don't necessarily see a problem in using such a device in restraint and moderation... with "moderation" being the operative word, sort of like how someone might bring a paperback or work a crossword for the "in-between" times. For better or worse, the night shift supervisors are pretty lenient with electronic devices. I do have a Kindle myself that I read sometimes, along with most of the night shift nurses, while I'm sitting at the front desk, waiting for the next thing to come up. The funny thing is, I'm afraid I look like a slacker for reading or playing a card game at the front desk, while the other RN is hidden away in the backroom fully engrossed in Batman Returns.
I definitely don't isolate myself in the backroom watching movies with my headphones on; I'd feel like too crappy a team player to do that.
We have a brand new nurse manager on the unit and I don't yet have much of a rapport with her. I hate to report the other RN and risk starting a war when I barely even know the new manager. The ideal thing by far would be if she, the other RN, would just step up (is it possible she could really be oblivious that she's not taking responsibility?), but after looking at the options, I wonder if the best thing isn't to just spend a couple hours each night in the room even farther down the hallway myself, which would force her to take responsibility at least some of the time since then she'd be closest to the phones and patients. I hate thinking this way, but I don't want to get burnt out so soon either, if that's what's going on with her... Urgh.