Teamwork and Collaboration in the Surgical Setting

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Each year, 400,000 patient injuries occur in the surgical setting. The Joint Commission estimates that 80% of those errors are preventable. Human perceptions, interactions, and comprehension are some of the leading causes of medical mistakes in the perioperative environment (Landers, 2015, pg. 658). Many such errors go back to a lack of precise and effective communication between professionals (Robins & Dai, 2015, pg. 264). Increased purposeful communication and team consistency in the perioperative setting are the answers to reduce and prevent such errors.

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Improving communication is best accomplished through the practice of teamwork and collaboration. Achieving a team mentality consists of meeting to exchange ideas, consider alternatives, and build relationships with one another. Collaboration is the practice of getting together in a focused manner and involving a consistent group in making decisions. Together they allow a group of people to become cohesive. Consequently, these interactions promote high quality and safe environment for each patient throughout their surgical experience.

Patient safety is the responsibility of all medical professionals. However, the perioperative world consists of a complex environment with many members of various backgrounds contributing to a patient’s care (Hemingway, O’Malley, & Silvestri, 2015, pg. 408). The way these individuals communicate affects the exchange and recollection of information regarding the patient. Errors may occur because of a person’s tone, volume, or the speed in which they speak (Robins & Dai, 2015, pg. 264). As a result, critical pertinent data may get lost in the process. The lack of standardization of relevant data increases the risk for information to be missed or forgotten (pg. 265). Regardless of the individuals’ conscientiousness, when information is not received, errors occur.

The errors prompted the need for change and improvement. A team of PACU RNs, CRNAs, and members of the patient safety committee, at Yale-New Haven Hospital, created a checklist to standardize the process of patient handoff in the surgical setting (Robins & Dai, 2015, pg. 265). The list focuses on critical elements in the perioperative environment that encourages clear, representative, and easy to use information shared amongst everyone that cares for the patient (pg. 255). The report includes various components that allow all staff to care for the patient appropriately and effectively. The specific categories that are covered consist of identifying information, medical history, anesthesia, intraoperative course, postoperative, and the opportunity for clarification (pg. 265). Their research concluded that the key info was better retained during handoffs (pg. 267).

In addition to the standardized checklist, the group of individuals that interact with one another benefit from familiarity. The camaraderie of members of the perioperative setting can positively affect team function (Landers, 2015, pg. 664). Team cohesiveness allows for the ability to quickly adapt to change and sustain adherence to quality improvement measures (pg. 658). Encouraging a high-quality culture of patient safety helps teams to identify specific areas of weakness as well as the opportunity for improvement amongst themselves in their specialties (Hemingway, O’Malley, & Silvestri, 2015, pg. 406).

As facilities have implemented the usage of a checklist, there has been a reduction in surgical error and an improvement in patient care (Landers, 2015, pg. 664). The list allows better-quality communication between the perioperative team, especially the anesthetist and receiving RNs post procedure (Robins & Dai, 2015, pg. 265). The transfer of information occurs efficiently. It is thus causing time effective and satisfactory reporting with a decreased rate of callbacks for more information clarification (pg. 266). In addition to the checklist, encouraging familiarity with one another permits confidence in each member of the team. The anticipation of team member needs can then occur more frequently and naturally, resulting in a calmer atmosphere (Landers, 2015, pg. 659). The transpiring of team cohesiveness allows for a culture of empowerment, communication, and respect among team members regardless of position (pg. 662). As a result, patient safety can be ensured and reinforced, along with necessary attentiveness in problematic aspects for the surgical patient (Hemingway, O’Malley, & Silvestri, 2015, pg. 408).

Patient safety is a fundamental aspect of the perioperative environment (Landers, 2010, pg. 658). Teamwork and collaboration amongst the various professionals in this setting improve the quality and safety of the surgical patient. The culture of safety reinforces due to a team of people working together for the greater good of each patient’s surgical experience (Hemingway, O’Malley, & Silvestri, 2015, pg. 410).

Studies have shown that the use of a checklist directed the correct exchange of information for nurse receivers, which then decreased information lost at handoffs. All of this means a potential decrease in errors due to miscommunication and misunderstanding (Robins & Dai, 2015, pg. 266). Members of the health care organization that believe in everyday excellence demonstrate specific qualities that encourage the best patient care. These professionals comprehend the complexities of the health care environment. As a result, they embody the belief that collaboration is the key to understanding and improving patient care in the surgical setting (Hemingway, O’Malley, & Silvestri, 2015, pg. 412)

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Teamwork and Collaboration in the Surgical Setting. (2020, Apr 17). Retrieved December 4, 2022 , from
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