Surgical team training: the Northwestern Memorial Hospital experience

Arch Surg. 2009 Feb;144(2):107-12. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.2008.545.


Objectives: To develop and implement a team-training curriculum. We hypothesized that better interactions between personnel would lead to improved patient safety, increased efficiency, and better staff satisfaction.

Design: Prospective assessment of a team-training program.

Setting: University-affiliated hospital.

Participants: Operating room physicians, nurses, technicians, and other personnel.

Interventions: Four-hour classroom curriculum, intraoperative coaching on team-related behaviors, and follow-up feedback sessions.

Main outcome measures: Baseline metrics and observational data were collected for 3 months before implementing the team-training program and 6 months after a designated implementation date. A questionnaire regarding perceptions of teamwork was completed at the beginning of and 6 weeks following the team-training classroom session.

Results: Six months after implementation of team training, compliance with preoperative briefings was 66%. No changes in hospital metrics were observed. An improved perception of teamwork among the participants was demonstrated in pretraining and posttraining surveys. Perceptions of teamwork and the utility of a preoperative briefing differed among nurses, surgeons, and anesthesiologists.

Conclusions: Our team-training program resulted in moderate compliance with behaviors taught in the curriculum. Even with only moderate compliance, we demonstrated improved perceptions of teamwork.

MeSH terms

  • Chicago
  • Communication
  • Curriculum
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires