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Facility staff and cell phones

March 21, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
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When I lived previously at a rural facility, there was a time when only those with premium-service cell phones could get a good signal. However, about nine years ago a communications company put up several cell phone towers. Soon after, more of the nursing home staff began to use cell phones. At first, it was kind of entertaining. Back then, not many of the staff texted, but they did talk on the phone. I felt there was no need to use a cell phone during working hours. I thought cell conversations should be relegated to break time or for emergency use only.

However, aides could easily communicate with each other using their cells. Since I required a two- or three-person transfer assist, it was nice when they could easily contact each other, and I got quicker assistance to transfer. I have to admit that I could not understand why some talked back and forth to others throughout their workday. To me that seemed like a bother and a distraction. But the aides were young and cell phones were a new toy for them to play with.

At one point when all of the staff there was using cell phones, management felt they had to curtail cell phone usage and threatened to take them away. But that never happened.

I got my own cell phone a year later. Previously, I had used a cordless phone that was big and clunky and difficult for me to use. One aide taught me how to use my "un-smart" phone and put all my contacts in it. It was freeing to be able to have my cell phone with me when I was watching TV to make and receive calls. I no longer had to put on the call light to summon an aide to assist me.

Today, at this facility, most of the aides use smart phones. But, a few still use "old style" flip or candy bar cell phones. Aides and other staffers now use their cells to text more than anything else. I know when management feels a staffer has overstepped his or her cell bounds, he or she is reprimanded.

I have read articles online about corporate managers and other executives who have become frustrated because employees check their smart phones all the time. Some managers confiscate cell phones before important meetings to ensure everyone is paying attention.

To me, employees should acquire cell and smart phone manners and realize it is not necessary for them to check them throughout their workday. Instead, they could check their cell phones during breaks and their lunch.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...