The Importance of Operating Room Teamwork

The Importance of Operating Room Teamwork

Dec 30, 2014 | 8:00 am

When the time comes to perform surgery, it is imperative that the healthcare staff on hand understands the importance of operating room teamwork. An operating room team has to rely on each other in a high stress, critical situation where one mistake can spell disaster. If an operating room team fails to understand the importance of working together, the results can be costly for the patient and the staff.

Luckily, most hospitals have a great team of surgeons and support staff on hand that fully understands the importance of working as a team. Healthcare professionals in an operating room are dealing with life or death situations and when the stakes are that high, there is no room for ego or disagreements. It has to be an “all hands on deck” environment in order to guarantee the best outcome for the patient.

It’s All About the Patient

A well-oiled operating room team provides the best possible care for a patient. A team without cohesiveness does the opposite. For the sake of the patient, teamwork is a necessity. No one wants to put their lives in the hands of an operating room team that doesn’t know how to work together. Who would? Of all workplace environments that need to work as a unit, an operating room team is at the top of the list and for good reason. When a person’s life is at stake, petty differences and egos should always be pushed aside and replaced with cohesive unity.

Why Surgeons Can’t Do It Alone

Surgeons are wholly dependent upon a good support staff in order to successfully complete a safe surgery each and every time. Anesthesiologists, nurses, and surgeons all have specific jobs to do, but each one is directly tied in with the job of their peers throughout the process. The truth is that teamwork is vital for patient safety in the operating room. If the surgeon doesn’t communicate with the anesthesiologist because of a personal grudge then the person who suffers is the patient.

Mutual Respect is the Key

There has never been a work environment where all co-workers like each other all of the time. However, where affection is missing, respect must take its place. Mutual respect in the operating room goes a long way toward effective teamwork. When co-workers focus on respecting one another in the operating room, it leads to an ability to work well together and the patient benefits along with the staff.

Like a Well-Oiled Machine

An operating room team that works well together is like a well-oiled machine. They are all pieces of a giant puzzle meant to be put together in a way that keeps patient safety and care at the forefront. Once teamwork is achieved at the operating room level then what can be accomplished is nothing short of a miracle. Surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and support staff all play an important role in the success or failure of any operating room activity. For that reason, it is crucial that everyone who is involved with an operating room be thought of as a team member with full respect.