Tips for Patients: How to Use a Call Light

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nursing call lightNurses are incredibly busy.  And by busy we mean doing endless charting.  So much so that they’re contractually not allowed to eat or urinate.  It’s no wonder that call lights were invented; to help patients get their immediate attention.  So, patients, listen close: follow these Gomerblog tips on how to appropriately use the call light because the call light is always right!

RULE 1: Sit on the remote containing the call light, activating it unknowingly and repeatedly.  We know it can be hard to voluntarily press the button, so best to have your body weight pressing on it randomly so that your nurse can experience what is the equivalent of a doctor’s pager (the greatest thing ever!).


RULE 2: Press it hard and press it often.  There is no such thing as pressing the call light too little.  If nurses thought you were abusing your power, why would they even give you those call lights in the first place?  That’s just silly talk!  So go nuts!  Which takes us to the next point…

RULE 3: Remember: you are the only patient in the hospital.  It is a grave misconception to think that the nurse is taking care of other patients.  When in doubt, remember the nurse-to-patient ratio is always one-to-one.

RULE 4: Ice can’t wait.  We get it!  Ice melts.  So if you need ice, then go ahead and ask for it!  Press the call light more than once.  You might even consider a quadruple-click.  If you’re worried that you might be interrupting a nurse, read RULE 5.

RULE 5: Don’t think you’re being selfish, especially if you’re just asking for IV Benadryl.  If it so happens the nurse is in the middle of an irrelevant task like resuscitating a patient when you press the call light, the nurse will happily get you more ice since that patient will likely still be in need of resuscitation after the ice is delivered.  No prob, Bob!

RULE 6: Press the call light if you can’t find the nasal cannula on your forehead.  Hmmm, where could it be?  We’re trained professionals, so please don’t hesitate to ask for help.  We will drop everything for you, even the weak patient we’re holding up.  We’ll use our professional know-how to spot it!

RULE 7: Press the call light when the IV pump keeps beeping because your arm with the IV is flexed but you haven’t figured this out yet.  It’s the weirdest thing: when your arm with the IV is extended, the sound stops but when you flex it, it goes off like crazy.  Please ask us for help and press the call light!  And when we (immediately) come and explain everything, be sure to disregard that knowledge and…

RULE 8: Press the call light again even though we just took care of the issue.  Ask any nurse: this is their favorite reason to go back and help you.  Especially the third and fourth go arounds.

RULE 9: Where’s my food?  Ah yes.  Press the call light to be reminded that you’re NPO.  Or press the call light to complain you haven’t received your meal even though it’s on you for not ordering the food because you were altered from narcotics.  Finally…

RULE 10: Press the call light if your pain medications are 25 seconds overdue.  Again, you’re the only patient!  And bedsides, narcotics are dispensed out of mid-air like magic.  The only reason there’s an opioid epidemic is because opioids are curative, right?

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