The use of personal communication devices

The use of personal communication devices can have a serious negative impact on patients if nurses violate patient privacy, and there could be serious consequences for the nurse if the boards of nursing (BON) investigate. The BON could investigate on the grounds of unprofessional or unethical conduct, mismanagement of patient records, moral turpitude, revealing privileged information, or breach of confidentiality (NCSBN, 2011). Consequences could be anything from disciplinary action to permanent loss of licensure (NCSBN, 2011). I’m sure we have all worked hard for our nursing license and it would be foolish to do anything knowingly to jeopardize it.
Personal communication devices, such as smart phones and tablets, can have a positive impact as well. They can be used to look up information needed by the nurse such as drug side effects and patient education, but the nurse would need to find reliable resources. Quick and easy access to pertinent information and EBP could help nurses manage time and spend more time with their patients (Giles-Smith, Spencer, Shaw, Porter, & Lobchuk, 2017).
To address ethical issues, a nurse should understand the difference between privacy and confidentiality regarding healthcare. Privacy is a patients’ right to choose who can acquire, use, or disclose their personal health information, while confidentiality is the responsibility of the health care provider to respect those rights (Levy, 2018). Any unauthorized use of patient information, whether it be a photo, e-mail, text, or any other form of communication, is in direct conflict with patient rights and is therefore unethical.
As an observational note, I have also worked with nurses and ancillary staff who have their faces glued to their phones and are unaware of what’s going on around them, and in that respect, unsupportive of other staff. Personal communication devices can be distracting, or they can be helpful, we need to use them in a way that is efficient while maintaining patient privacy.

Giles-Smith, L., Spencer, A., Shaw, C., Porter, C., & Lobchuk, M. (2017). A study of the impact of an educational intervention on nurse attitudes and behaviours toward mobile device and application use in hospital settings. Journal of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (JCHLA), 38(1), 12–29. to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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Levy, N. B. L. (2018). Legal Issues…Maintaining Confidentiality: an Overview. CINAHL Nursing Guide. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

NCSBN. (2011, August). White paper: A nurse’s guide to the use of social media. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

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Class & Professor,

Personal communication devices include fundamental and improved cell phone devices and tablets that are possessed by the nurses provide extraordinary expediency in our everyday lives. Instantaneous shared communication and data recovery have made personal communication devices crucial for various people especially in the healthcare setting (Teller et al., 2017).
Positive and Negative Impacts
PCD utilization at the workplace positively influences the occupation of nurses by minimizing anxiety benefiting patient care, ensuring enhanced patient care management amongst the hospital employees, improving patient protection and departmental solidarity, restructuring output, improving care quality, and increasing clinician fulfilment. Along with advantages, these communication devices have some disadvantages in the medical environment (Teller et al., 2017). For instance, it can lead to further disruptions that lessen the presence of health care officials in other patient-support instances.
Ethical Implications
If the larger number of health care professionals make use of these devices for hospital interactions and workflow, then they could be breaching national laws, healthcare safety regulations and morals currently. Working professionals caution that the safety and protection of responsive information “take on a new implication when handling sensitive information about patients (Hebda, Hunter, &Czar, 2019). A single violation would potentially affect the information leaving patients them exposed to therapeutic personality theft.
The study points out that unlawful attacks are the primary basis of hospital information violation, an original in the five years of the investigation’s account. In a different research, it is apparent that violations in healthcare are costly to remediate, and the price is increasing. Discretion is also major distress in the healthcare sector. Enhanced effectiveness could be counterbalanced by communication complicatedness leading to the loss of consistency and discretion (Teller et al., 2015).
A number of studies have raised uncertainties about information safety measures, insufficient technological expertise, and poor workforce relationships. Healthcare professionals may see a deterioration of inter-skilled associations owing to an overdependence on text messages to different people and a consequent deficiency in of oral communication (McBride, LeVasseur, & Li, 2018). Mobile device applications should be cautiously selected for discretion as well as good organization.
Support for Patient Care
Technical know-how has turned out to be an essential element of health care settings. Various healthcare professionals carry departmental explicit phones to converse openly with patients or with other healthcare professionals relating to patient medical concerns. Some hospitals have started using cell phone devices for health professionals to send messages, emails or call doctors, or to use the Internet. In an attempt to minimize prescription mistakes, several hospitals now utilize a structure of tablet coding and scanning prescriptions before they are managed (Hebda, Hunter, & Czar, 2019). It is apparent that these mobile devices fill a vital communication breach with the expertise offered by health care settings, for instance allowing them to rapidly access medical orientation resources at the point of treatment or converse with other professionals.

Hebda, T., Hunter, K.,& Czar, P. (2019). Handbook of Informatics for Nurses & Healthcare Professionals (6th ed.). NewYork, NY: Pearson.
McBride, D. L., LeVasseur, S. A., & Li, D. (2018). Non-work-related use of personal mobile phones by hospital registered nurses. JMIR health and health, 3(1), 3.
Teller, E., Stivoric, J. M., Kasabach, C. D., Pacione, C. D., Moss, J. L., Liden, C. B., & McCormack, M. A. (2017). U.S. Patent No. 8,961,413. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


Loretta O’Neill
WednesdayJun 19 at 6:53pm
Manage Discussion Entry

Hi Olubukola and Class,

You have touched on many of the key issues here. Clearly, cell phones in the clinical area can help or hurt patient care.

But can you think of one place where you would expect staff to be completely “on task” and vigilant, without the distraction of a cell phone? Would that place be the Operating Room? Nurse anesthetists share the view that the OR is a time and place for full attention, and yet it too has its distractions from noise, alarms and personal devices. The article below is a very nice condensed history of the research into the impact of personal electronic devices on patient safety and a review of the current literature on the subject.

A couple of highlights:

A 2012 Pew Research Study found:

50 % of the respondents to their study had bumped someone due to distraction with cell phones

84% did not go one day without their cell phones

20% checked their phones every 10 minutes!

Another study done in 2011 of perfusionists found that 56% of the respondents used their cell phones while running cardiopulmonary bypass!!!

The article also mentioned an interesting caution that, in the event of an accusation about the quality of care, the personal electronic device serves as a “incriminating evidentiary support to the accusation by retrieving activity that is dated and time stamped”.

What are some of the implications of this?


Snoots, L. (2016). Use of personal electronic devices by nurse anesthetists and the effects on patient safety. AANA Journal, 84(2). 114-119.

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