I try to go the extra mile when encouraging my patients to maintain contact with their families and friends during their 'stay' at our facility. I truly believe that this is an important part of the healing process, as long as the patient wants and benefits from the contact. Therefore I applaud and espouse modern communications solutions like the internet- seeing its potential despite the warnings of misuse and abuse. I have a patient who communicates electronically with relatives who are not Shomer Shabbos and live in other time zones so that when it is no longer Shabbos here, it is still Shabbos there. I have successfully encouraged them to avoid communicating electronically with their friends and relatives who are still 'enjoying' Shabbos Menucha. A non religious coworker has gotten wind of it and tells me to let it be, that the therapeutic benefits of the communications trumps the Halachot of Shabbos especially since my patient is NOT the one being Mechalel Shabbos. She has made an issue of it as if I am proselytizing. This is obviously the patients decision and until now they were amenable to my suggestions to limit their electronic communications after Shabbos with those who have also finished Shabbos . Any suggestions?
This is a great question/dilemna because it brings out a number of the issues we contend with as Jewish nurses. I see a bunch of topics folded into this.
I always have to bite my tongue when a non-observant friend tells me what is or is not a priority in Torah and halachah. The irony or hypocrisy really grates on me, personally.
As for your colleague's assertion - I highly doubt it. If this isn't an issue of pikuah nefesh or safek pikuah nefesh, then it does not trump hilchot shabbat. What the problem is with hilchot shabbat may be debatable. See below.
Of course, your working relationship with your colleague is part of the question here. Whether or not to pursue a debate or discussion with her of the issue largely depends on your relationship. We should always, in my opinion, be acutely aware in our dealings with other people of the potential for kiddush hashem and hillul hashem.
Regarding the actual communication, it isn't clear in halachic consensus what is happening here. Your patient is not violating Shabbat, since it has ended. He isn't necessarily causing others to do so, since they can refuse the call/Skype; or they might engage in an alternative hillul Shabbat like going for a drive. There is a bit of dispute among contemporary poskim on such an issue. The classic question about inviting non-observant guests for a Shabbat meal is related. Does my mere invitation serve as a 'stumbling block' by setting them up to drive on Shabbat to my house? Many rishonim and aharonim would say no. Many obversely say it is forbidden and a violation of the Torah's prohibition of a 'stumbling block'. Personally, I hold it is not a violation of 'michshol lifnei iver', following the lead of Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook and Rav Hershel Schachter, with whom I briefly discussed this issue for our beit midrash. But many rabbanim forbid this.
Similarly, your patient places a call. It is an 'invitation' to the other side to pick up (or get on Skype). They don't have to answer. They could also initiate the call themselves. So it isn't clear that that your patient is violating the prohibition of michshol. Even if he is not, one might still argue that if he avoided calling till later it would still be better. Personally, I think so. If all things are equal, why not delay the call?
By the way, I'll point here to the dirty little secret regarding electronic devices on Shabbat. It is not at all certain or clear what prohibition is involved in using them. Going back several decades, Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach was of the opinion (published in his book on the topic) the use of electricity on Shabbat does not involve any violation of the Torah. He was convinced, even after debating it with the Hazon Ish, that at most a rabbinic prohibition would be involved. It seems that with modern electronic devices, this would even more be the case. Older rabbanim have told me how back in the 40s and 50s there was a lot of debate and varying opinions on the matter, regarding Shabbat and Yom Tov. Again, today's electronics are likely much less of a problem - though that is my limited conjecture.
So, there is an outside chance that the use of electronic media on Shabbat involves no issur d'oraita. And making the call may not be a michshol lifnei iver. It would still be far better not to impinge on kedushat Shabbat, as the navi says v'daber davar; but there may not be an obvious or definite issur.
Lastly, we are nurses and we are Jews. Our mandates are complex and at times in tension with each other. As a nurse you have a mandate to promote your patient's welfare and sensitively navigate what is supporting/encouraging vs. what is interfering. It varies, as you know better than I, with each patient. As a Jew you have a mandate, nay an obligation from Torah, to promote Torah in general and specifically encourage another Jew to honor and uphold the Torah. Sometimes we have to think a bit strategically about how to do that. We have to think about our effect on the individual about whom we care; and we have to think about the effect on the organization or institution. Usually, slow and easy is the better long term strategy. Divrei hachamim b'nahat nishmaim. Sometimes we have to emulate Hashem and apply some tzimtzum, and hold restrain ourselves.
The 'proselytizing' argument bothers me. You're in Israel. You normally have an obligation to encourage another Jew to observe Torah. An objection to 'proselytizing' in that context is pretty goyish; but that is how some of our colleagues and friends think. But it is what it is, and again the strategy has to be one of darkei noam and pursuing kiddush hashem. That sages say that the mitzvah of 'loving hashem' involves making hashem loved by others through our actions. That places, I believe, a high emphasis on keeping it pleasant as much as possible; and sometimes just stepping back.
I know you know whatever I brought up here; but sometimes seeing it laid out by a friend helps. My thoughts on the matter are only worth what you paid for them. ;-)
Medic, thanks for your well thought out answer, My Rav (R' Shmuel Hershler נ''י ) has already paskined that we cant call Chutz Laretz while it is still Shabbos there as you dont know who you are inviting to pick up the phone, practical application involves not making phone orders or even on line orders for purchasing things. I know I can call my Mother to leave a message such as "we are all ok despite the sirens going off on Shabbos" b/c I know she will not pick up but phoning an order to a National company , say GAP, you never know who is answering and if they are Jewish you are making them be Mechalel Shabbat. Regarding use of electronic devices on Shabbos being less of a problem as per Rav S.Z.A.zatzal, you are absolutely correct and our Rav has instructed us to use the computer for charting on Shabbos rather than writing with pen and pencil (although we always try to have a non Jew "write" for us when possible. You are absolutely correct in that often it is an issue of relationships with co workers although here I dont think so. Regarding inviting non religious guests for meals, I have been given the same advice and answers as you (but some of the very same Poskim), although this situation is that the patients are dependent on MY devices to help them with their electronic communications, specifically my cellphone and my computer as they dont have those things (and if they did , it would get stolen real quick...hamayvin yavin) , in my case the family members coordinate with me when they can call and speak to or email or skype , so up till now I had the ability to at least claim that I am unavailable until Sun afternoon since Sunday mornings are anyways crazy here . The coworker really thought she was doing me a favor when she asked if I can allow access to my computer for after Shabbos use and when I explained the reasons I dont, she then said she felt that I was trying to make non religious Jews religious. I explained that there is a difference between forcing someone to keep Shabbos (which I wouldnt do for obvious reasons) and discouraging Chillul Shabbos for no reason. This only became an issue since Shabbos ends early now. Regarding encouraging other Jews to observe Torah, I have to do it VERY GENTLY and POSITIVELY. I have too many nurses who tell me that when I schedule them to a Shabbos shift, they plan on catching up on paper work to which I tell them, if they tell me that, I CANT schedule them for a Shabbos shift, as then I would be encouraging them to do nonessential work on Shabbos, I am very specific while giving direction to my nurses as to what they should be doing on Shabbos and what they should not. I even have to worry about Arabs with Jewish mothers!! Truth is when I worked in NY, I had many "Goyim" who turned out to have Jewish ancestors and couldnt be sure if it was their mothers mother was the Jew or mothers father Applying restraint is definitely an answer. I will continue to be unavailable to help pts in this issue till Sun Afternoon but do so quietly... I have found that these kind of things get swallowed up in bigger problems on the units....