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Nurses and Surgeons Perceive Teamwork Differently

Survey finds surgeons usually have more favorable perception of OR communication, collaboration

THURSDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- They may be on the same team, but operating room nurses and surgeons have different perceptions of communication and teamwork effectiveness in the operating room, according to research published in the June issue of the AORN Journal.

Brian T. Carney, M.D., of the National Center for Patient Safety in White River Junction, Vt., and colleagues analyzed questionnaires about safety culture, including quality communication and collaboration, completed by 378 perioperative nurses and 312 surgeons at 34 hospitals to examine the differences in perception of teamwork between the two groups.

The researchers found that the nurses reported teamwork higher among their nursing colleagues than with surgeons. Surgeons, however, saw things differently, rating teamwork high with nurses as well as with other surgeons, and having a significantly better perception than nurses on five out of six items regarding communication and collaboration. For instance, on a scale of one to five, surgeons rated "nursing input is well received" as a 4.3, while nurses rated that item as a 3.8.

"To increase the likelihood of success when implementing the use of checklist-based crew resource management tools, such as the World Health Organization's Surgical Safety Checklist, project leaders should anticipate differences in perception between members of the different professions that must be overcome if teamwork is to be improved," the authors write.

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