NHS called on to provide mobile devices if nurses need them

Hospital equipment sales opportunities could stem from a recent warning issued to nurses by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) that they should avoid the temptation to use their own mobile phones at work.

The RCN has published new guidance on the matter after a number of members raised concerns about the issue at the RCN’s annual congress this year. The professional body has called on NHS organisations to supply equipment where staff routinely needed to use mobile devices.

A 2010 survey of clinicians found that 80 per cent of nurses and midwives who carried mobile phone admitted to having used their own phones for work purposes. The author of the guidelines, RCN e-health advisor, Alison Wallis, said that nurse should not “bear the brunt of costs” of work-related phone usage.

“We are against the regular use of mobile phones for work purposes but we accept there are times when they may have to be used in an emergency, for example,” she said. “There is a concern that pressure would be put on nurses to use their own phone, although we aren’t saying that may be a conscious decision by employers. If they need to regularly use their phones the employer should provide them.”

The guidance also advised nurses to be aware of potential risks of using apps on smartphones to aid them with clinical decisions. Wallis warned, “Nurses are taking the responsibility on themselves using these apps. If they are downloading them and using them, they could be basing clinical decisions on unreliable information.”


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