Developing Surgical Teams: Theory

  • John T. PaigeEmail author
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 17)


Although excellence in the care of a surgical patient depends in part on the medical knowledge and technical skill of the surgeon, such attributes are not necessarily sufficient. In addition, the expert functioning of the teams working with the surgeon in the perioperative setting is critical to a successful outcome. Developing highly reliable surgical teams, therefore, is essential for safe, effective patient care. Unfortunately, more often than not, surgical teamwork falls short of this ideal. For the surgical educator, the challenge thus becomes overcoming ingrained patterns of detrimental behavior among practicing clinicians and inculcating students in team-based competencies that will improve the quality of care. (S)he can meet such a challenge by adopting human factors (HF) principles when teaching and training inter-professional teams. The next two chapters will discuss how to develop such an approach by first addressing the theoretical underpinnings of HF concepts in the present chapter, then by demonstrating applications of these concepts to promote highly reliable team function in general and using a specific example. In doing so, they will combine to address the following objectives: (1) discussing the role of HF in promoting safe surgical care, (2) applying HF concepts to develop highly reliable surgical teams, and (3) illustrating such an application through a discussion of the development of simulation-based team training in surgery at LSU Health New Orleans Health Sciences Center.


Surgical teams Human factors High reliability Teamwork Simulation Inter-professional education Surgical education Checklists Briefings Team training 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryLouisiana State University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA

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