Building shared situational awareness in surgery through distributed dialogue

Gillespie, Bridget, Gwinner, Karleen, Fairweather, Nicole, & Chaboyer, Wendy (2013) Building shared situational awareness in surgery through distributed dialogue. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 2013(6), pp. 109-118.

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Background Failure to convey time-critical information to team members during surgery diminishes members’ perception of the dynamic information relevant to their task, and compromises shared situational awareness. This research reports the dialog around clinical decisions made by team members in the time-pressured and high-risk context of surgery, and the impact of these communications on shared situational awareness.

Methods Fieldwork methods were used to capture the dynamic integration of individual and situational elements in surgery that provided the backdrop for clinical decisions. Nineteen semi structured interviews were performed with 24 participants from anaesthesia, surgery, and nursing in the operating rooms of a large metropolitan hospital in Queensland, Australia. Thematic analysis was used.

Results: The domain “coordinating decisions in surgery” was generated from textual data. Within this domain, three themes illustrated the dialog of clinical decisions, i.e., synchronizing and strategizing actions, sharing local knowledge, and planning contingency decisions based on priority.

Conclusion Strategies used to convey decisions that enhanced shared situational awareness included the use of “self-talk”, closed-loop communications, and “overhearing” conversations that occurred at the operating table. Behaviours’ that compromised a team’s shared situational awareness included tunnelling and fixating on one aspect of the situation.

Impact and interest:

7 citations in Scopus
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ID Code: 57435
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: shared situational awarness, surgery, distributed dialogue, communication, teams
DOI: 10.2147/JMDH.S40710
ISSN: 1178-2390
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Deposited On: 20 Mar 2013 04:08
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2013 02:48

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