A recent study revealed that emergency department staff spends a shocking amount of time on Facebook.
Researchers found that emergency workers spent 20 percent of their time at work on Facebook, and that number increases when they have more patients.
The study, done by researchers at the University of Florida, observed 68 different work stations in an emergency department over a 15 day period. They compared the time they spent on Facebook with the work index. The work index was derived by hospital information systems.
Over a period of 15 days, 9,369 Facebook pages were visited over 72.5 hours at work, and staff spent one out of every five minutes, on average, on the site.
That means, for every hour worked, an emergency department employee spent 12 minutes of that on Facebook.
But the most surprising finding was that emergency workers spent more time on Facebook when they were at their busiest.
When studying the habits of the night shift workers, which is when the department is the busiest, researchers found that they spend almost 20 minutes an hour on the site.
And during the slower days, they only spent four minutes an hour on the site. They do not know why they spent more time on the site when they were busier.
"It is our opinion that this level of Facebook use is unacceptably high in clinical spaces, and as such, computer workstations in patient-care space should limit access to online social networking and other forms of entertainment," they said in the study.
"This unanticipated finding warrants further investigation since increased patient volume and acuity seemed to prompt health care workers to seek distractions or opportunities for cognitive time-outs."
"It is possible that these time-outs lead to improved worker functioning, but of more concern is that it may also represent a compromise of patient care."