Personal Communication Devices

How can the use of the nurse’s personal communication device(s) impact patient care positively and/or negatively? What are the ethical and legal implications? What does the professional literature say about how communication devices can support safe nursing practice?

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At my facility there is reported to be a policy for not having personal cell phones out while on the clock. However this is something that occurs everyday and is not enforced. The obvious negatives for having a cell phone out while at work would be a break in HIPPA if patient information/pictures are obtained and also a lack of professionalism that is viewed from patients and their family and friends. I know many times family will walk up to the nurses desk and a nurse is looking something up or texting. I believe this is completely unprofessional behavior, however I admit every nurse has done it at least once including myself. Our transport team recently switched from pagers to personal communication device that looks like a personal cell phone. When the transport team gets a request to transport a patient somewhere the phone goes off like any other cell phone would and can easily be misinterpreted by a patient or family that they are texting while on the job.
Overall I believe this to be a huge problem at my facility and the way we are portrayed by the patient. The positives of all this would be an easier and quicker way for communication. According to our textbook other concerns with personal communication device use while at work can include viruses transmitted to computers if connected with outside devices, theft of the cell phone, authenticating who is on the phone if being used for patient care and a decrease in patientcare related to social media (Hebda, 2013). Many facilities will block certain sites on the computers such as social media to prevent staff from accessing these sites, however personal cell phones are an easy way for staff to get around this. If someone is not paying close attention, one may accidentally post something about a patient that may breech HIPPA while on the job. It is stated that “employers are using social network sites to check up on applicants and existing employees” (Hebda, 2013, pg. 108).

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