Hospital removes water coolers in ongoing effort to stem socializing by staff.

In a move aimed at further restricting any form of socializing or unproductive behavior among hospital staff, officials at Knuckles Medical Center have removed more than 60 water coolers from the facility. While many hospitals have followed a similar philosophy in blocking social web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, KMC is believed to be the first organization in the country to take the strategy to this level.

“Everyone says these web sites are online versions of the water cooler, so we went ahead and eliminated the actual water coolers,” said KMC Vice President of Compliance, Staffing and Totalitarianism, E. B. Skruge. “Boom! That’s what I’m talking about!”

Skruge noted that the organization had already blocked social web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as Google, Yahoo, CNN.com, ESPN.com, and “pretty much anything ‘.com.’” The goal, he said, is to eliminate any possible distractions for staff that could take them away from focusing on their jobs. When asked how employees could keep up with their hospital’s own Facebook page and Twitter feed if the sites were blocked, Skruge said he was unaware of any such “doo-hickeys.”

“No one should have time in their day to socialize, or keep up to date on news, or in any other way feel like a connected human being,” stated Skruge. “But it’s not just communicating online – we’re trying to eliminate all forms of unnecessary communication, such as the kind that takes place around the water cooler. If you want to talk to a coworker about anything other than work, save it for the weekend.”

The hospital has created a “Non-essential communication elimination committee” that made the recommendation to remove the facility’s water coolers. Skruge said the committee is also considering the elimination of break rooms, bus shelters, the cafeteria and any hallways with perceptible gathering spots. KMC Director of Internal Communications Jake Marley was unavailable for comment.

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