Aims: This study examined the degree of interruptions experienced by emergency department nurses and related factors. Methods: This study is a descriptive survey using standardized observation tools. A total of 23 nurses working in an emergency department participated in this study. Using a stopwatch over 120 h, the degree of interruptions was investigated by measuring start and end times of tasks and interruptions. Factors related to interruptions were classified as communication, telephone calls, medical device alarms, changes in patient condition, and other factors. Results: The frequency of interruptions in the emergency department was 6.4 times per hour, and its percentage was 9.1%. The time required for actual nursing tasks of “counseling and education,” “safety,” and “patient nursing management and information management” were increased significantly due to interruptions. A primary factor in interruptions was communication with patients, families, and nurses. The longest duration and the highest frequency of interruptions occurred during medication tasks. Conclusions: Communication with patients, families, and nurses was the highest factor related to interruptions. Nurses may cause interruptions and be subjected to interruptions simultaneously. Therefore, nurses in the emergency department should work with caution not to cause interruptions.
- Emergency department