Health Services Research & Development

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Chrouser KL, Partin MR. Intraoperative Disruptive Behavior: The Medical Student's Perspective. Journal of surgical education. 2019 Sep 1; 76(5):1231-1240.
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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Intraoperative disruptive behavior can reduce psychological safety and hinder teamwork and communication. Medical students may provide unique insights into how to prevent these adverse impacts. We sought to characterize medical student perspectives on the causes and consequences of intraoperative disruptive behavior and ideal intraoperative working environments. DESIGN: In this retrospective qualitative analysis, authors coded de-identified field notes from residency interviews to identify themes and key insights and to explore gender differences in perspectives. SETTING: A tertiary academic medical training center in the Midwestern United States. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-two medical students applying for urology residency placement. RESULTS: Students were 57% male with an average age of 26 years (range 23-34). Most students witnessed intraoperative disruptive behavior (usually by surgeons) such as yelling, throwing instruments, or blaming others. Students described frustration with missing instruments and incompetent assistants as the most common instigators of disruptive behavior. They noted undesirable effects of disruptive behavior, including decreased communication/teamwork, lack of learning, increased technical mistakes, and recalled feeling afraid and stressed by these situations. They described ideal intraoperative working environments as calm, efficient and collaborative environments where questioning and learning is encouraged. CONCLUSIONS: Students provide a valuable perspective on the causes and consequences of disruptive behavior during surgery and point to potential pathways to improvement. Their experiences suggest prevention or reduction of surgeon frustration might be a fruitful target for intervention efforts to prevent intraoperative disruption.