What's the strangest phone conversation you've ever had at work?

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I had a funny, frustrating call at work today that was too good not to share. I changed the names, but the rest of it is factual. I'm still debating whether or not it was a prank, or someone was really truly having difficulty. This is between myself and another staff member (receptionist, no less):

THEM - "Hi, do you have a private caregiver over there?"

ME - "No, I don't."

THEM - "No, do you have a patient with a private caregiver? I have Betty Smith here in front of me."

ME - "Is she the caregiver?"

THEM - "Yes, she's from Helpers."

ME - "I don't know of anyone here who uses a private caregiver."

THEM - "No, she's here looking for her."

ME - "She's looking for the caregiver?"

THEM - "No, she's looking for the patient."

ME - "Who's the patient?"

THEM - "Betty Smith. "

ME - "Betty Smith is the patient?"

THEM - "No, she's the caregiver. Is she here?"

ME - "Who?"

THEM - "Betty Smith."

ME - "Is that the caregiver? Betty Smith is the caregiver?"

THEM - "Yes, is she here?"

ME - "Yes, she's standing in front of you."

THEM - "No, the patient. Is she here?"

ME - "What's the name of the patient"?

THEM - "Betty Smith."

ME - "No, she's not here, sorry." *click*

Mind you, this all happened at the end of my shift during shift change, and the chaos at the nurses desk didn't help, but it was still one for the books. What are some odd conversations you've had at work, phone or not?

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,262 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

Posted this in the OR forum, but I'll bite:

circulator/ICU nurse conversation.

Phone rings. ICU nurse: Hi, was wondering if I have enough time to go to lunch before taking this patient.

Me, knowing I've got at least another hour in the OR: Absolutely.

ICU nurse: Great, can I get report?

Me: Well, if you want it, but it'll change a lot.

ICU nurse: Yes, please.

Me: Patient is having CABG x3 and an AVR. Left radial art line, right IJ central line and PA cath. Will have two mediastinal chest tubes and one left pleural chest tube. Currently has not received any blood products. Vitals are meaningless at this point since we're still on pump.

ICU nurse: Well, can I have the vitals anyway?

Me, smirking as I think of the reaction: Currently in asystole, heart rate of zero, pressure is 55 over 50, PA is 3 over 3 and CVP is 0.

ICU nurse: Oh my God! The patient's coding? Shouldn't you be helping with that?

Me: No, when they're on pump having heart surgery we like this. That's why I said the vitals are meaningless. I'll call you with an updated report when it's time.

Sometimes I wish that all nurses taking postop patients had to observe the surgeries so they'd have something of an idea.

maelstrom143

398 Posts

Specializes in PCU. Has 17 years experience.
Posted this in the OR forum, but I'll bite:

circulator/ICU nurse conversation.

ICU nurse: Well, can I have the vitals anyway?

Me, smirking as I think of the reaction: Currently in asystole, heart rate of zero, pressure is 55 over 50, PA is 3 over 3 and CVP is 0.

ICU nurse: Oh my God! The patient's coding? Shouldn't you be helping with that?

Me: No, when they're on pump having heart surgery we like this. That's why I said the vitals are meaningless. I'll call you with an updated report when it's time.

Sometimes I wish that all nurses taking postop patients had to observe the surgeries so they'd have something of an idea.

Bahahahaha!!! OMG. Priceless. Very cool :)

margin261

193 Posts

Specializes in Urology, HH, med/Surg. Has 15 years experience.

Many years ago, I worked for a GP. Part of my job was to call & give pt's lab/tests results. One day I called a male pt- this man was over 80y/o- to give him lab results. He & his wife owned a business and that was the number I was to call-- per his HIPAA, I was to give only him the results-- to anyone else, I could say who I was & where I was calling from & call back number.

Well, his wife gets on the phone:

Her: This is Mrs X

Me: This is m261 @ Dr Whosit's, I need to speak to Mr X

Her: Well, I'm his wife, you can tell me

Me: No ma'am, I need to talk to him, I have some information he needs.

Her: Well, you little girls just keep on calling and it won't do you any good!! He's MY husband and you just stay away!!!

Me: B-b-but ma'am, this is m261, Dr Whosit's nurse...I have your husband's lab results from this morning & instructions to give to only him. Please have him call me back.

Click....

He changed his HIPAA form the next day.

Has 21 years experience.

This is nowhere near what has been posted but I got a little laugh out of it. I was working for an ALF and I won't say where but it's name is like a lot of them that might be confused with a hotel/motel service if you didn't know the area and hadn't seen it in person. It's 7am on a Saturday, I answer the phone:

Me:"Thank you for calling (facility name), nurse (my name) speaking how can I help you?" It was the main line to the facility and the secretary wasn't in yet so I got all the calls.

Caller: "Yes, I need to rent an apartment"

Me: "Ok, are you looking for assisted living or memory care"

Caller: "It doesn't matter"

Me: scratching my head at this point, "Well, the rates vary considerably since memory care does considerably more for the resident"

Caller: "I'll take whatever is available. Can I move in tonight?"

Me: "Ma'am, I want to make sure that you know who your calling. We are a senior living facility that has assisted living and memory care services. Are you looking for this type of living arrangement? If so, there will be some documentation that we will need from your doctor before we can set up a move in date."

Caller: "So you cannot rent an apartment to me and my three children right now?"

Me: "I think there is some confusion here. We are not an apartment or hotel/motel. We are a retirement home."

Caller: "So I can't move in today?"

Me: "Let me give you are the number to marketing. They can help discuss your options".....why, why, why, does the licensed nurse get to answer the phone when the secretary is off duty???I don't think it requires a healthcare license to answer a phone!....now back to trying to page that doctor....

nurseactivist

247 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, OB, ICU, Public Health Nursing. Has 40 years experience.

I was a case manager and had a caller who only spoke Cantonese. I thought it was the parent of a child.

I transferred the call to our bilingual staff who informed me, "your dry cleaning is ready."

nurseactivist

247 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, OB, ICU, Public Health Nursing. Has 40 years experience.

I was a case manager and had a caller who only spoke Cantonese. I thought it was the parent of a child.

I transferred the call to our bilingual staff who informed me, "your dry cleaning is ready.

Farawyn

12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

I was sitting with a very young and scared July resident as he called to get a telephone consent for a Cat Scan on a patient.

"Hi, this is Dr. Young, I need to get a Cat Scan on your Mother"

...

"Yes, a Cat Scan, we have to rule out..."

....

"No...no...oh, you like cats? I like cats too. No, I don't want to talk to your kitten...is YOUR mother there?"

Cute.

rnsrgr8t

395 Posts

Specializes in Peds Urology,primary care, hem/onc.

This happens in our clinic ALL the time. I work in a hospital that has multiple outpatient clinics. They all have a main front desk with our check in people answering the phones. Of course, random people call the back lines in our work area.

Ring ring (coming from inside the hospital so this is not a patient)

"Urology clinic, this is rnsrgr8t"

"Julie?"

(ok I just SAID my name and it is NOT Julie)

"No this is rnsrgr8t"

"Well I need Julie"

"I am sorry, we do not have anyone here with that name"

"But I need to talk to her"

"Well, I am not sure how to help you but we do not have a Julie that works in this clinic"

Then the caller gets all huffy b/c I cannot make Julie miraculously appear. Umm, we do have an operator that can help you.

We share a clinic space with Nephrology who have their own extensions in the back.

Ring ring

"Urology clinic this is rnsrgr8t"

"Yes this is Betsy from the lab I need to discuss the labs on patient ABC"

I look up the patient and realize they are not a Urology patient but a Nephrology patient

"Sorry, this is not a Urology patient, I cannot help you with this. I do not think Nephrology is down here seeing patients right now but let me check"

Stop what I am doing, go to the back of the clinic to confirm that, yep, Nephrology not there

"Sorry, they are not down here right now"

"But I need to talk to them"

"Well I am sorry, I guess you are going to have to call their secretary or page the MD who ordered the labs"

"Can you call them?"

"umm NO, not my department."

getting huffy

"Well what is the number?"

"I am sorry, I do not have the #'s for Nephrology memorized seeing as I work in Urology but I suggest you can call the operator!"

One of the APN's I work with is notorious for forgetting to carry her beeper/phone and is ALWAYS giving the back clinic # to people to call her there. She also tends to leave to go do something without telling anyone where she is going. I would be a millionaire if I had a nickle every time I am asked "Where is Mary?".

Ring Ring

"Urology Clinic this is rnsrgr8t"

"Mary?"

"No, this is rnsrgr8t"

"I need Mary"

"I am sorry she stepped away"

"Where did she go?"

"I am not sure, she did not tell me"

"Well I need to talk to her!"

"I am sorry, she is not here right now. She will be back down here at some point. Can I help you?"

"No I need Mary!"

"Well, she is not down here. Unfortunately she left her pager/phone down her next to her computer"

"Well I need to talk to her!!" now getting angry

"Well, you can either send her an email, which she will check later, leave a message with me for her or let me help you"

"But I need to talk to her right now!!"

"Well I am sorry but that is not possible seeing as she is not here"

With an attitude, "FINE, I need ....blah blah (something I can easily do)"

"Oh I can do that for you, here (done)!"

"FINE!" and hangs up!

Seriously?

ixchel

5 Articles; 4,547 Posts

Specializes in critical care.

Monitor tech calls me while I'm in a patient room (not room 9).

Tech: your patient in room 9 needs batteries changed. She's down to red now.

Me: it's okay if she dies. She's discharged anyway.

I hang up. Then I look up to horrified expressions on the faces of the patient and spouse in front of me.

I immediately pull my foot out of my mouth to clarify, "her batteries!!! It's okay if her batteries die! Not the patient!"

I then go into patient education regarding the function of telemetry and our monitor tech.

AcuteHD

458 Posts

This is turning out to be a better thread than i thought it would be, but i got nothing. Well, nothing as good as these and it's not medical, but:

I opened a chat window to cancel my internet service with "breezeriver"

After about 3 min the window was closed because no reps were available.

Tried again with same result.

Tried again but this time entered that I wanted to upgrade my service.

Got a rep and got my service canceled.

Anyway, I thought it was funny...kinda...sorta.

Farawyn

12,646 Posts

Has 25 years experience.
This is turning out to be a better thread than i thought it would be, but i got nothing. Well, nothing as good as these and it's not medical, but:

I opened a chat window to cancel my internet service with "breezeriver"

After about 3 min the window was closed because no reps were available.

Tried again with same result.

Tried again but this time entered that I wanted to upgrade my service.

Got a rep and got my service canceled.

Anyway, I thought it was funny...kinda...sorta.

it's Acute story...kinda...sorta.