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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Operating room teamwork among physicians and nurses: teamwork in the eye of the beholder.

Makary MA, Sexton B, Freischlag JA, et al. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. 2006;202:746-52.

This Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)–supported study advocates for the use of the Safety Attitudes Questionnaire (SAQ) as a validated method to evaluate teamwork, communication, and the quality of collaborative care. Investigators surveyed more than 2000 surgeons, anesthesiologists, and operating room nurses in 60 hospitals to demonstrate the substantial differences in self-reported teamwork ratings. For instance, physicians rated teamwork as good, whereas nurses rated it as mediocre. These findings mirror a past study comparing teamwork perceptions in the operating room with those in a cockpit. As teamwork remains a critical component of patient safety, the authors propose that a better understanding of these existing disconnects can drive future improvement efforts. The same authors recently described using the SAQ as a tool to evaluate safety culture in surgical settings.