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Why Does Everybody Shout in Hospitals?

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Recently I had cause to visit the after hours clinic in the emergency ward of my local hospital. Don't worry, I'm fine, thanks for asking. I'm not dying, or even at risk of dying (apparently).

Anyway it was a Saturday morning and I was there for a few hours sitting in one of several patient bays all divided by curtains but with the entrance completely open. What I noticed is that everyone of the staff seemed to talk to each other like they were standing in a field, raising their voice just to be heard by the next nearest person (probably standing quite some distance away).

Now I get that in a busy emergency ward it's important that staff can be understood and communicate clearly but I know this morning wasn't busy because one of the staff said as much in a phone call...

"No, it's not busy, just a steady stream so far."

I also know that the patient just down from me came in as a result of an allergic reaction to something that his epipen wasn't dealing with, and the lady up from me had a massive headache (reason enough to talk a bit quieter I would've thought).

However sitting across from the ward office, which was enclosed by glass panels, I was reliably kept informed of every patient's status throughout the four and a half hours I was there. I even knew before I was told directly that I was okay to go home.

Maybe it's just that my local hospital emergency ward is fairly compact, where sound doesn't have all that far to travel, or maybe all the staff are used to raising their voice for senior patients, of which I expect there are a lot, as our town has a high number of retirement villages.

Note that I'm not complaining, and the staff were all very friendly people, I just found it odd at how loud they were all talking, even standing next to each other discussing each patient's status?

I wonder if they lower their voices if someone has a particularly embarrassing predicament, or do they talk even louder like a checkout attendant at a local supermarket asking for a price check on condoms or hemorrhoid cream?

"Did you see Barry in bay 1? Yeah I don't know how he got it stuck there? Never seen anything like it!"

A statement like that would certainly pique most people's interest on the ward. I'd tune in for that.

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