Acceptance of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist among surgical personnel in hospitals in Guatemala city

BMC Health Serv Res. 2012 Jun 21:12:169. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-12-169.


Background: Studies have highlighted the effects the use of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist can have on lowering mortality and surgical complications. Implementation of the checklist is not easy and several barriers have been identified. Few studies have addressed personnel's acceptance and attitudes toward the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist. Determining personnel's acceptance might reflect their intention to use the checklist while their awareness and knowledge of the checklist might assess the effectiveness of the training process.

Methods: Through an anonymous self- responded questionnaire, general characteristics of the respondents (age, gender, profession and years spent studying or working at the hospital), knowledge of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist (awareness of existence, knowledge of objectives, knowledge of correct use), acceptance of the checklist and its implementation (including personal belief of benefits of using the checklist), current use, teamwork and safety climate appreciation were determined.

Results: Of the 147 surgical personnel who answered the questionnaire, 93.8% were aware of the existence of the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist and 88.8% of them reported knowing its objectives. More nurses than other personnel knew the checklist had to be used before the induction of anesthesia, skin incision, and before the patient leaves the operating room. Most personnel thought using the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is beneficial and that its implementation was a good decision. Between 73.7% and 100% of nurses in public and private hospitals, respectively, reported the checklist had been used either always or almost always in the general elective surgeries they had participated in during the current year.

Conclusions: Despite high acceptance of the checklist among personnel, gaps in knowledge about when the checklist should be used still exist. This can jeopardize effective implementation and correct use of the checklist in hospitals in Guatemala City. Efforts should aim to universal awareness and complete knowledge on why and how the checklist should be used.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Checklist*
  • Cities
  • Female
  • General Surgery*
  • Guatemala
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • World Health Organization*