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Doctors and Nurses Are Fueled by Coffee

Survey Shows Health Care Professionals Depend on Coffee to Get Through the Workday
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Sept. 27, 2010 -- Coffee may be the fuel that keeps hospitals buzzing both day and night.

A new survey shows nurses and doctors -- compared to other professions -- depend most on the buzz of coffee to perform their best on the job.

But health professionals aren't alone. Researchers found 43% of coffee drinkers say they're less productive if they don't drink coffee on the job. And about a third of workers say they need coffee just to get through the workday.

“Today’s workforce is working longer hours and shouldering heavier workloads,” says Richard Castellini, chief marketing officer at CareerBuilder, who commissioned the survey, along with Dunkin' Donuts, in a news release. “The survey shows having an extra energy boost in the morning and throughout the day may be helping productivity levels.”

The nationwide survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, included more than 3,600 workers and rated the professions with the highest proportion of workers that said they were less productive without coffee.

Professions Most Dependent on Coffee

The results showed the professions most dependent on coffee were:

1. Nurses

2. Physicians

3. Hotel workers

4. Designers/architects 

5. Financial/Insurance sales representatives

6. Food preparers

7. Engineers

8. Teachers

9. Marketing/Public relations professionals

10. Scientists

11. Machine operators

12. Government workers

Researchers found workers in the Northeast were the most dependent on coffee, with 48% saying they were less productive without it compared with a low of 34% of workers in the Midwest that said the same.

Coffee Drinking Habits

Other findings of the survey include:

Younger workers more dependent on coffee. Forty percent of those aged 18 to 24 said they can't concentrate as well without coffee and 43% aged 18 to 34 said they have lower energy if they don't get their daily java jolt.

Coffee as reward. Nearly one in four younger workers said they buy coffee as a way to treat themselves for a job well done.

One cup isn't enough. Thirty-seven percent of workers say they drink two or more cups of coffee during their normal workday.

Coffee convenience. Three out of four workers who buy coffee during the workday travel less than a quarter of a mile for their cup of Joe.

The survey included 3,6661 U.S. adults. It was conducted between Aug. 17 and Sept. 2.

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