The use of wireless phones in hospital units are increasing, inducing all nurses to carry a working phone. As the effect has not been investigated, a qualitative study was performed in a hospital unit in Denmark. The aim was to explore how the use of wireless phones affects nursing practice, using participant observations and interviews with nurses and patients.

The study demonstrated that nurses tend to answer their wireless phone, regardless of the situation they are engaged in. This affects their communication and attentiveness, consequently compromising their ability to conduct compassionate care. Also, wireless phones were shown to compromise patient safety by disturbing nurses’ concentration, consequently causing mistakes in the procedure they were performing. Furthermore, they interrupted medicine administration and transferred bacteria between patients.

The results emphasize the necessity to define and develop the use of wireless phones and further investigate their effects in health care settings.