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.