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Perceptions of Operating Room Tension across Professions: Building Generalizable Evidence and Educational Resources
Academic Medicine
  • Lorelei Lingard, University of Toronto
  • Glenn Regehr, University of Toronto
  • Sherry Espin, University of Toronto
  • Isabella Devito, University of Toronto
  • Sarah Whyte, University of Toronto
  • Douglas Buller, University of Toronto
  • Bohdan Sadovy, University of Toronto
  • David Rogers, University of Toronto
  • Richard Reznick, University of Toronto
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BACKGROUND: Effective team communication is critical in health care, yet no curriculum exists to teach it. Naturalistic research has revealed systematic patterns of tension and profession-specific interpretation of operating room team communication. Replication of these naturalistic findings in a controlled, video-based format could provide a basis for formal curricula.

METHOD: Seventy-two surgeons, nurses, and anesthesiologists independently rated three video-based scenarios for the three professions' level of tension, responsibility for creating tension and responsibility for resolution. Data were analyzed using three-way, mixed-design analyses of variance.

RESULTS: The three professions rated tension levels of the various scenarios similarly (F=1.19, ns), but rated each profession's responsibility for creating (F=2.86, p<.05) and resolving (F=1.91, p<.01) tension differently, often rating their profession as having relatively less responsibility than the others.

CONCLUSIONS: These results provide an evidence base for team communications training about tension patterns, disparity of professional perspectives, and implications for team function.


Dr. Lorelei Lingard is currently a faculty member at The University of Western Ontario.

Citation Information
Lorelei Lingard, Glenn Regehr, Sherry Espin, Isabella Devito, et al.. "Perceptions of Operating Room Tension across Professions: Building Generalizable Evidence and Educational Resources" Academic Medicine Vol. 80 Iss. 10 Suppl (2005) p. 75 - 79
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