Aims: To ascertain information about the use of mobile phones on a young person's hospital unit and to obtain the views of nursing staff and young people about the benefits of their use.
Methods: A qualitative study using a pre-piloted questionnaire was given to 50 young people admitted consecutively to the young person's unit of district general hospital in a four-week period. A separate questionnaire was given to nine members of the nursing team over the same time period.
Findings: Most young people had access to a mobile phone while on the ward. A total of 30 per cent were told they could use their phone, 75 per cent of those had made calls or sent texts while on the ward, 80 per cent had received calls or texts, and 20 per cent had used the ward phone at the nursing station. All staff agreed that it was helpful for young people to use their phones on the ward to keep in contact with friends and family, to avoid isolation and ease boredom.
Conclusion: Young people have different social needs to younger children and appreciate the opportunity to use mobile phones. A more flexible approach should be adopted. The advantages of phone use clearly outweigh the risks.