Surgical Safety-the importance of leadership, communication and teamwork
(I was one of the quality officers-focused on surgery; a blog follows on how developing leadership skills are important and necessary to build surgical safety)
As residents and fellows, we focus (rightly) on developing technical skills but effective team building and communication are skills that are equally important for patient safety. These are skills that can be developed and trained.
The surgeon is the leader of the team, but the leader’s goal must be to flatten the hierarchy in order to empower everyone to speak up, regardless of his/her role in the team. As the leader of the team, the surgeon should implement “psychological safety”. One strategy that works for this: introduce every member of the team by name to the patient, and their roles. This tells the patient who members of the team are, and once the surgeon, and the patient know one’s name it becomes easier to communicate and for team members to speak up.
In order to develop effective teams and build leadership skills, our safety team had a monthly training program-residents, surgeons, anesthesiologists, nursing staff were all required to attend. By doing so, we achieved our goal of enhancing surgical safety. (sessions were ongoing; we noticed improvement in a few months)
(Article from JAMA about the same topic: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/186748)