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P64 - Handling a Challenging Call in a Professional Manner

Introduction: Ambulatory care centers with telehealth capabilities can be chaotic by nature, and phone conversations are a major part of a telehealth nurse’s workflow. Responding to phone interactions, especially those that are difficult, can become emotionally demanding. Nurses in telehealth are frequently challenged to handle difficult phone interactions in a professional manner. When interacting with a caller who presents in a challenging manner (e.g., loud tone, argumentative, disrespectful, using foul language), nurses should take ownership of the situation, regardless of what they believe to be the core of the problem. Clinical staff members must identify and attempt to treat the caller’s emotion, as well as the caller’s problem. Although clinicians find various resources in the literature for managing these situations, there are few references available that provide a comprehensive, yet easily accessible, summary of strategies and considerations.

Purpose: This poster will be a succinct and summative tool which outlines how to best handle challenging calls in an organized manner. Topics will include tips for professional communication, themes that are often common in these calls, legal considerations, documentation, termination of a professional relationship, and additional recommendations for ensuring professional accountability. Furthermore, suggested statements to avoid, as well as suggested statements to consider using, will be provided.

Implications for telehealth nursing: These strategies will assist clinicians to most appropriately resolve the callers’ needs while also maintaining the individualization of each call. After viewing this poster, attendees will be able to outline strategies to assist them in appropriately resolving a challenging call. Secondly, after discussion with the primary author, attendees will be able to analyze a previous call in their telehealth career and identify approaches for improving a similar call in the future.