Can aviation-based team training elicit sustainable behavioral change?

Arch Surg. 2009 Dec;144(12):1133-7. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.2009.207.


Objective: To quantify effects of aviation-based crew resource management training on patient safety-related behaviors and perceived personal empowerment.

Design: Prospective study of checklist use, error self-reporting, and a 10-point safety empowerment survey after participation in a crew resource management training intervention.

Setting: Seven hundred twenty-two-bed university hospital; 247-bed affiliated community hospital.

Participants: There were 857 participants, the majority of whom were nurses (50%), followed by ancillary personnel (28%) and physicians (22%).

Main outcome measures: Preoperative checklist use over time; number and type of entries on a Web-based incident reporting system; and measurement of degree of empowerment (1-5 scale) on a 10-point survey of safety attitudes and actions given prior to, immediately after, and a minimum of 2 months after training.

Results: Since 2003, 10 courses trained 857 participants in multiple disciplines. Preoperative checklist use rose (75% in 2003, 86% in 2004, 94% in 2005, 98% in 2006, and 100% in 2007). Self-initiated reports increased from 709 per quarter in 2002 to 1481 per quarter in 2008. The percentage of reports related to environment as opposed to actual events increased from 15.9% prior to training to 20.3% subsequently (P < .01). Perceived self-empowerment, creating a culture of safety, rose by an average of 0.5 point in all 10 realms immediately posttraining (mean [SD] rating, 3.0 [0.07] vs 3.5 [0.05]; P < .05). This was maintained after a minimum of 2 months. There was a trend toward a hierarchical effect with participants less comfortable confronting incompetence in a physician (mean [SD] rating, 3.1 [0.8]) than in nurses or technicians (mean [SD] rating, 3.4 [0.7] for both) (P>.05).

Conclusions: Crew resource management programs can influence personal behaviors and empowerment. Effects may take years to be ingrained into the culture.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Aviation* / education
  • Checklist
  • Humans
  • Medical Errors / prevention & control*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resource Allocation / education*
  • Risk Management / organization & administration
  • Self Concept
  • Staff Development*