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Nurses cannot ignore call buttons

Hospital residents often use call buttons to get the attention of the nurses, alerting them to the fact that they need extra assistance at the moment. In theory, these are only supposed to be used in emergencies, when people quickly need help with things they cannot do on their own.

However, some nurses feel like the residents overuse these buttons. This can be very frustrating for them as the same patients keep calling them back over and over. Being a nurse is already a stressful job, and this practice only makes the stress worse.

One temptation, for the nurses, may be to ignore the call buttons. They likely will not do it with everyone, but they may start to remember which patients "overuse" the buttons and then respond to them more slowly than they would overwise. In some cases, they may feel tempted not to respond at all, assuming that everything will be all right.

Let's be quite clear: This is an unacceptable practice. It cannot happen. Nurses cannot ignore these buttons. They have no way to know what is really happening or how quickly someone needs their assistance. Ignoring the call button could have dire ramifications and could even prove fatal for the patient.

There are other tactics they can use, such as talking to the residents about when they should really use the buttons, but they cannot simply start to ignore them. It makes the hospital an unsafe environment for everyone.

If you get a nurse who ignores you or takes far too long to respond, you need to know if you have any legal options.

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