Sunday, October 16, 2011

don't call us, we'll call you

Dear doctors/clinics/home health nurses, etc:

Effective immediately you may no longer call ahead to tell us that you are sending in so and so to be seen in the ER and you want to give us a "heads up". We don't want a "heads up". We find you "heads up" a waste of time.

I am in triage, it is busy and your sorry butt calls up in the middle of all of it to tell us about this patient. I don't care. What you have to tell me is useless information. Sometimes I don't even write it down. Nothing you say will change the way your patient is treated in the ER. They will go through the same process as everyone else. They will be triaged, may or may not go back to a room right away, our doctor will see them and THEY will decide what to do.

Your patient will not get back any sooner because you called. Don't tell your patient that they will. Telling your patient that you will be calling us to tell of their pending arrival makes your patient think they will be a priority. They won't be. They will be TRIAGED like everyone else. Often patients have the mistaken notion that you meet them there. Please tell them that the last time you were in ER was 1965 and that you won't be seeing them.

It is not 1970 and you are not Marcus Welby and you don't need to call us. We really can manage your patient all by ourselves.


rnraquel said...

LOL...Marcus Welby :)

I used to do PRN in an urgent care run by ER doctors, who had me do these calls a few times. I was mortified. I knew they were wasting the ER nurse's time. I pretty much apologized throughout the whole conversation.

Yvonne said...

WOW.I thought we were the only ones plagued with these calls.I get a perverse bit of glee when the triaged person gets told that,yes,your doctor called and no, it does not get you in faster, an inpatient bed,preferential treatment or the tests you want.I always add that their physician has no priveleges in the ED and they ought to take their lack of satisfaction up with THEM for misleading them because the ED has not catered to PMD since I have been a nurse.

EDNurseasauras said...

I won't even talk to the docs who start suggesting helpful diagnostics for the ensuing zebra hunt. "I'll put our doc on".

Anonymous said...

Alas the only time I ever called ahead was for a suicidal patient with PPD and a plan (and no place to send her but the ER for the hopsital that actually has a psych facility). I called mostly so that if she or her deluded caregiver decided to change their version of events, then someone would know. But next time I guess I'll just let her show up.

Nurse Stella said...

As a Home Heath nurse, I was always taught to call a report in as a courtesy and transition of care. Most of the patients in our area have no close family and are unable to give an accurate if any history. When I was an ER nurse, these calls were much appreciated. Your holier than thou attitude makes me quite happy that you do not work in our local ER.