CMS and MGH are Bringing the Science of Teamwork to Operating Rooms

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Blog - CMS and MGH are Bringing the Science of Teamwork to Operating Rooms

The Center for Medical Simulation is teaming up with Massachusetts General Hospital strengthen teaming across surgery, anesthesia, and nursing in the operating room. We focus on how to recover from “bad starts” or unexpected delays or equipment problems, how to reunite a team in which sub-teams are each working on separate tracks.  In our program, “Teaming Skills for Patient Safety and Peer Psychological Support,” we introduce clinicians to the idea that creating a robust, high-performing team is a dynamic, on-going technical process that requires practice. Because our Operating Room teams change with some frequency, teammates need to consistently and regularly build their ability to explicitly function as a team. High performance teamwork expert Amy Edmondson calls this process “Teaming.” Changing the way we describe this process from the noun “team” to the gerund “teaming” puts an emphasis on the fact that becoming a team in an active process that must be continuously refreshed. It emphasizes the communication skills and the mutual values that team leaders and team members can use to create high-quality patient care and high-quality interpersonal interactions.

In this dynamic on-line program, participants get ready to set clear explicit goals with their teammates, to invite speaking up and feedback and receive it without defensiveness, and to ask for help when needed. Participants learn how reducing the “risk” in interpersonal interactions can improve the performance of the team and learn how to manage internal reactions which can inhibit the giving and receiving of good feedback in the moment among the team. By making important conversations in the Operating Room safer for all teammates, especially those speaking up to those above them in organizational hierarchy, we can make our patient care even safer.

Our expert interprofessional team leading this training program include surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists and team scientists: Jenny Rudolph, Chris Roussin, Denise Gee, Maureen Hemingway, May Pian-Smith, Rebecca Minehart, and more.