Would you call a patient's family at 3 am?

Nurses General Nursing


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324 Posts

Yes, My first responsability is to my pt. and if he/she is asking for family to feel comfortable I'd call at any time.

micro, RN

1,173 Posts

:D Hey, VAC?

Never wrong to call, but not wrong not to call........you follow with your nursing 'gut and your nursing knowledge........

also if you know if family wants you to call with anything, or if they expressed need to have some rest, etc..........

sometimes in nursing there is black and white issues(i.e. cut and dry, concrete/fact)....

and then there are those shades of grey'

VAC, cool to see you on the boards........

and you know you rock'

cuz micro:p

jayna, RN

269 Posts


Did the family said if anything happens to call them?

You know, she's been taking care of pefectly well. And you follow your guts well. It's not wrong not to call and to call. Judgement is entirely on each of the individual nurse.

Happy nursing all.


940 Posts

definitely would have called

Mattigan, RN

175 Posts

most definitelty call. if the family chooses not to come, it is their decision.


67 Posts

Originally posted by Robin61970

I can't believe the family actually left!!!! Yes I would have called as well........

There's no shame for family members to try to get some zzz's after a dramatic event like that. From experience, it's mostly when the shock of what the patient have lost and realising what they will have to relearn that the family is the most needed... but often at that point they are sooo exausted.

I would have called too thought. Since your dilemma was the early hour, why not try to delay to, say, 5am, stating to the patient that you WILL call at that hour, and the reason why you think it's best that way. Sometimes patients don't realize it's the middle of the night and that the family must sleep too.

In any case, you did what you think was best, don't be too on yourself for this one, we've all been there...;)


70 Posts

Well, it looks like I found some of the refugees---dharma and froggy.

I think that in each situation, it is easy to say Yes or No I would have called, but when one is in that situation you just have to make some kind of judgement call. And when I have to make a decision like this, I may have second thoughts but I have a rule---I made it, right or wrong and I will stand by it and not feel guilty.

Everything is a learning process. You made the best call you could at the time. Do not second guess yourself. I think I would have done all that you did and then if the patient is still wanting the family I probably would have called. The family bears some responsibility however. They did leave after all (I wouldn't have) and they never gave any indication of what they wanted as far as any instructions or desires one way or another. One never knows the family dynamics. You just have to do the best you can and know that you are a caring, loving nurse and don't beat up on yourself.

adrienurse, LPN

1,275 Posts

I have called family at 0300 hrs for the benefit of the patient. I have never been criticised for doing so. They are usually pretty greatful. I will continue to due so prn.


564 Posts

Yes, without question! If a patient were to ask once at 3 a.m., I'd remind her of the time, and the fact that the family is likely asleep. If she asked again, or indicated she was upset, I would call. The worst that could happen would be that whoever was on the other end would cuss me out for waking them. At least I would've tried. I am sure this young woman was scared, and badly. If she was my daughter, or if it were me, I would hope that you'd call, or I'm afraid I would have to speak to your nurse manager in the a.m. I know visitors can be a pain in the patootie, but they can also be a HUGE comfort to patients, too!


1,326 Posts

Would have called if the family being in the room would not interfere with the patient.

Worst thing that could have happened is you wake them up, they decide not to come in, and they go back to sleep.

I cannot imagine being in that patient's position and crying for my family. Heart Breaking.

God Bless her and God bless you,


657 Posts

i too would have told the pt what time it was and if she still wanted me to call i would.

first thing i would say on the phone is ...after identifying myself...this is not an emergency.

i cant believe none of the family members stayed either.


370 Posts

I can not imagine being a patient in the ICU and crying for my family, and then being drugged. I would think that the drugs would make me feel worse as they are a form of a depressant. Does anyone have any insight to this question of mine?

Thanks in advance.


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