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Can J Surg. 2006 Feb;49(1):22-30.

Investigating interpersonal competencies of cardiac surgery teams.

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Department of Psychology, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS B3H 3C3.


Successful cardiac surgery requires highly skilled individuals to interact effectively in a variety of complex situations. Although cardiac surgery requires individuals to have the requisite medical knowledge and skills, interpersonal competencies are vital to any successful cardiac surgery. Surgeons, anesthesiologists, perfusionists, nurses and residents must communicate effectively in order to ensure a successful patient outcome. Breakdowns in communication, decision-making or leadership could lead to adverse patient outcomes. Realizing that human error is responsible for many adverse patient outcomes, we attempted to understand the team processes involved in cardiac surgery. An adaptation of the Operating Room Management Attitudes Questionnaire was used to gather a variety of responses related to group decision-making and communication. The results indicate inherent group differences based on factors such as seniority and occupational group membership. The implications of the research findings and suggestions for future research are discussed in detail.

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