For certain patients that need to be admitted to surgical services or need to be followed by certain subspecialties, you will have to call a consult.
When you page a consulting service, be sure to listen for the overhead page as these can often be missed if you are speaking to a patient or walk into a room. Pick up the phone and be confident! As a general rule, be brief and concise. Introduce yourself and afterwards your first sentence should always be what condition you think the patient has or what your specific question is for the consultant. Then give the name and MRN and location of the patient. The consultant may ask you for other information so be sure you have lab values and radiology readings in front of you.
“Hi Ortho. This is Michael calling from the ER. I have a patient here with a distal radius fracture. His name is Kevin Smith and his MRN is 123456 and he is in room 43″
“Hi Renal. We have a patient with new onset renal failure with a K of 6.3. He may need urgent dialysis, please come down to evaluate him.”
“Hi Surgery. We have a patient with a spreading cellulitis. He may need to be admitted for IV antibiotics.”
“Hi GI. We have a patient in the ER with an upper GI bleed and a dropping hematocrit. He may need to be scoped.”
Be confident and assertive that the patient needs to be seen by the consultant. However, do not get into an argument with them. If you need any help with calling a consultant, please ask your chief, pre-attending, or attending for help.
Kathy L. Chuang, MD 2011 (modified by @em_stevemcguire)