SDW news brief: Four signs of surgeons’ inattention in the OR

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, October 1, 2010

We all know that the more often a doctor performs a procedure, the better the chances of a good surgical outcome. The more experienced providers who specialize in one or two procedures, all the time, at specialty hospitals, usually perform very very well.

But like any repetitive routine, doing the same operation over and over can become old and boring. Doctors and nurses on the team play the same music, tell the same jokes and gossip and perform the same steps in the same order.

And sometimes, a dangerous trance, or "drifting" can set in.  Reporting in the October issue of Academic Medicine, Canadian researchers dissected just that process, which they call "automaticity."

Engaged in conversation about the kids or the car in for repairs, doctors can make critical surgical errors that are hard to correct. Such mishaps, even among the most experienced high-volume practitioners, are more likely to take place at those times, according to lead author Carol-Anne Moulton, MD, assistant professor of the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto.

To read the full article for free, click here.

Source: HealthLeaders Media

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