Physicians often act like a nurse's phone call is a huge interruption—without realizing that the call interrupts the nurse's day as well. Tell you nurses to keep the following telephone tips in mind:
- Don't begin with an apology. Identify yourself and the patient.
- Always have the chart, labs, and latest vital signs in hand.
- Put yourself in the physician's shoes; use critical thinking skills and have an idea of what you think you need before you call.
- Don't beat around the bush; say what you need or want.
- Anticipate after-hours needs as much as possible so you won't need to call a physician.
- Repeat back to the physician a summary of the order or the conversation.
- Use the speaker phone for rude physicians, and let them know you are doing so.
- If a physician is verbally abusive, say, "I am hanging up now. Please call back when you are calmer." Then hang up.
—Kathleen Bartholomew, RN, BS