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Creating safer surgery to save more lives
Date:11/23/2011

the surgical unit, and did not rotate between other units at the hospital, says Hyland.

"As a result, they became familiar with each other, the routines, and the equipment. This familiarity was reflected in for instance the organisation, precision and efficient handling of instruments and equipment between nurse and surgeon".

"If disagreements arise during an operation, there is always someone, typically an experienced individual, who can calm things down and reconcile the team. This creates a sense of security both within the team and between colleagues individually."

The PhD student also emphasises that the composition of a team, i.e. an entirely experienced team contra a mixed team, plays an important role in terms of how far for instance mood swings are allowed to affect the atmosphere in the operating room.

Delays and interruptions

A surgical team takes into account many obstacles that might prevent a successful outcome of an operation. These obstacles can include changes in the order of patients, inadequate planning of the operation, and deficiencies or delays in available or ordered equipment. External calls as well as people entering and leaving the operating room can also disrupt the flow of an operation, since the team always follows a stringent schedule.

"Despite all these uncertainties, a surgical team is well prepared," says Hyland. "In particular, the team members combine both textbook knowledge and tacit knowledge, in their making of decisions during an operation."

By "tacit" knowledge, he means the team's ability to utilise many and relevant sources of information in decision-making. For instance, the team draws on information from X-rays, patient monitors, the patient's record, and each other's experiences to anticipate what happens in the operating room over the next few hours.

"The ability to handle the unexpected is second nature to a surgeon, physician or nurse with many
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Contact: Sindre Hyland
sindre.hoyland@uis.no
47-518-34155
University of Stavanger
Source:Eurekalert

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