EP workload. 100 tasks per hour

Just in case you wondered why you were tired at the end of 10 hours.

A paper by Rongsheng Kee and Johnathon Knott at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in the June issue of Emergency Medicine Australasia (EMA (2012) 24, 294-302) has described the workload of an Australian Emergency Physician. Table 1 is worth showing your partner so they can understand why you are less than talkative when they ring you at work. In case you don't have access, the gist is this. 

As a duty consultant (in charge role) in every hour of the shift you will do the following:

Have 13 conversations with other doctors and the same with nurses, make or take 4 phone calls, talk to a patient's family and have around 6 conversations with other staff including police, ambos, clerical staff and students; 

Walk 19 times between the different spots that you work in;

Review 5 patients, look at 6 files, use the EDIS system 10 times, use path and xray computer systems a couple of times each, look up some sort of medical reference perhaps once and make 6 medical record entries;

You will also occasionally write a sick note or prescription or discharge letter;

Once every few hours you will snack while working, and you'll have a drink on the floor about once an hour (scotch?); you will go to the bathroom once every 10 hours, go for a meal once in 10 hours and on one other occasion in that time-frame you will sneak away for an "unspecified" purpose (quick dose of ECT from the broken defib machine in the storeroom?);

It is not all bad news though. You will spend 24 seconds an hour on average in "quiet contemplation". I am comforted by that.