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Behavior Rating System May Improve Non-Technical Surgical Skills

Researchers from the Industrial Psychology Research Centre at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have devised a tool to assist in the training and evaluation of non-technical skills for surgeons (NOTSS). Led by Professor Rhona Flin, the team of industrial psychologists, surgeons, and anesthetists examined four categories of non-technical skills needed for an operating team to perform a successful surgery; (1) situation awareness, (2) decision-making, (3) communication & teamwork, and (4) leadership.

The rationale for the creation of this tool stems from other work Professor Flin conducted on non-technical skills for aviators. High-risk, high-responsibility industries like aviation and healthcare are very concerned with passenger and patient safety, respectively. One study, performed about a decade ago, found that 1-in-10 patients experienced an adverse event while receiving medical care. Although most events were minor, when encountered in surgery, the severity of the adverse event was greatly amplified. This new rating tool attempts to quantify and qualify the intangible skills a surgeon needs beyond medical knowledge and experience, with the overall goal of making all surgeries safer for patients.

Click here to learn more about NOTSS from the University of Aberdeen.