Department of General Medicine

Paging etiquette and good practice


    Using the paging system thoughtfully can make a very big difference to effective communication.
    An environment in which staff are constantly interrupted in their work flow is a major cause of inefficiency,
    distraction and has adverse effects on patient safety.

    Do you really need to page someone?

    • Could the matter wait until the ward round?
    • Could you use the Electronic Medical Task Function in EMR?
    • Don't use the telephone system for paging unless you have no access to a PC
    • Don't call switchboard to page someone unless you really cannot track down
      the name/number of who you need to page via a PC.

    When you do send a page  - think carefully about the content of the message.

    Sending just a number (+/- a name) is very inefficient for the recipient

    A good paging message contains

    • The main message
      (Do not include patient details)
    • The name, role, and location of the person who is paging
    • An indication of the urgency
    • A number to call back if needed
    • An indication of the need for the recipient to call back

    Below are some example paging messages.
    The first 3 are poor, while the second 3 are much more appropriate.




    Please call 5438



    Please call Jane 5438



    Please call Jane RN Kookaburra 5438 about an unclear drug order. Within 30 mins please



    We have 2 fluid orders to be rewritten thanks. Not urgent.
    Jane RN S/Glider 5438



    Patient in bed 234 :parents here for next 2H - keen to talk with you. Jane RN S/Glider  5438