A comparison of the teamwork attitudes and knowledge of Irish surgeons and U.S Naval aviators.Surgeon. 2012 Oct; 10(5):278-82.S
Poor teamwork skills are contributors to poor performance and mishaps in high risk work settings, including the operating theatre. A questionnaire was used to assess the attitudes towards, and knowledge of, Irish surgeons (n = 72) towards the human factors that contribute to mishaps and poor teamwork in high risk environments. The responses were compared to those obtained from U.S. Naval aviators (n = 552 for the attitude questions, and n = 172 for the knowledge test). U.S. Naval aviators were found to be significantly more knowledgeable, and held attitudes that were significantly more positive towards effective teamworking than the surgeons. Moreover, 78.9% of Senior House Officers and Registrars stated that junior personnel were frequently afraid to speak-up (compared with 31.3% of Consultants). Only 7.3% of surgeons stated that an adequate pre-operative brief team brief was frequently conducted, and only 15% stated that an adequate post-operative team brief was frequently conducted. It is suggested that the human factors training currently provided to surgeons in Ireland is a positive first step. However, there is a need to stress the importance of assertiveness in juniors, listening in seniors, and more reinforcement of good teamworking behaviours in the operating theatre.