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Am Surg. 2012 Jun;78(6):642-6.

Resident perceptions of the impact of paging on intraoperative education.

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  • 1Division of Surgical Education, Department of Surgery, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.


Our purpose was to evaluate the impact of paging on perceptions of intraoperative learning. Intraoperative logs of pager interruptions were kept by surgical residents at a university hospital over a 30-day period. The postgraduate year, number of pages, category of caller, reason for call, and level of urgency were recorded during each operation. At the conclusion of each operation, residents also completed a two-item survey with responses on a 5-point scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree), querying if interruptions negatively impacted the intraoperative experience and if a message taken by a third party was effective in limiting interruptions. Logs were completed for 124 of 204 operations. Fifty-five per cent of operations were interrupted at least once with 49 per cent interrupted two to five times and 6 per cent were interrupted six or more times. Junior residents had 69 per cent of their operations interrupted compared with 39 per cent of senior residents (P = 0.001). Ninety-two per cent of pages were nonurgent. Residents did not perceive pager interruptions negatively impacted their educational experience (mean 2.3) but were neutral with respect if messages taken by a third party decreased interruptions (mean 3.8). Although our hypothesis was that pager interruptions were frequent and disrupt resident education, our data demonstrate the opposite.

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