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imageIntroduction: Communication failures between multidisciplinary teams can impact efficiency, performance, and morale. Academic operating rooms (ORs) often have surgical, anesthesia, and nursing teams, each teaching multiple trainees. Incorrectly identifying name and “rank” (postgraduate year [PGY]) of resident trainees can disrupt performance evaluations and team morale and even potentially impair delivery of quality care when miscommunication errors proliferate.
Methods: Our OR-based survey asked 50 participants (18 surgeons, 14 anesthesiologists, and 18 nursing members), to recall basic identification data including provider names and PGY levels from their recent collaborating OR teams. Participants also weighed in on the importance of using accurate “names and ranks” for all OR participants.
Results: Each service reliably knew their own team members’ names and rank. However, surgery and anesthesia teams displayed decreased knowledge about their lower level trainees, whereas nursing teams performed best, identifying all level nurses present. Deficits occurred whenever participants tried recalling basic identifying data about contributors from any other collaborating team. Typically, misidentified participants were lower level PGY residents working on other teams’ services. All survey respondents desired improving systems to better remember “names and ranks” identifications among OR participants, citing both safety and team morale benefits.
Conclusions: Many fail to know the names and ranks of contributors among members of different OR teams. Even our most reliable nursing team was inconsistent at identification information from collaborating practitioners. Despite universally acknowledged benefits, participants rarely learned basic background identification data beyond their own team. Those surveyed all desired improving identifications with suggestions including sterile name and rank tags and proper notification of entry and exit from the OR. Because successful collaborations require appropriate level task delegations, participants believed knowing a resident’s name and rank is important not only for team bonding but also for safety. Academia furthermore demands fair performance evaluations, and displaying them clearly improves recall. Refining our own identified gaps in OR communications may demonstrate improved teamwork and safer task delegations and perhaps even stimulate other performance benefits for academic ORs.

Reviews of National Laser Institute