Comprehensive Literature Search to Identify Assessment Tools for Operating Room Nontechnical Skills to Determine Common Critical Components

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Medical Science Educator


Background Effective use of nontechnical skills (NTS) contributes to the provision of safe, quality care in the fast-paced, dynamic setting of the operating room (OR). Inter-professional education of NTS to OR team members can improve performance. Such training requires the accurate measurement of NTS in order to identify gaps in their utilization by OR teams. Although several instruments for measuring OR NTS exist in the literature, each tool tends to define specific NTS differently. Aim We aimed to determine commonalities in defined measurements among existing OR NTS tools. Methods We undertook a comprehensive literature review of assessment tools for OR NTS to determine the critical components common to these instruments. A PubMed search of the literature from May 2009 to May 2019 combined various combinations of keywords and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) related to the following subjects: teamwork, teams, assessment, debriefing, surgery, operating room, nontechnical, communication. From this start, articles were selected describing specific instruments. Three reviewers then identified the common components measured among these assessment tools. Reviewers collated kin constructs within each instrument using frequency counts of similarly termed and conceptualized components. Results The initial PubMed search produced 119 articles of which 24 articles satisfied the inclusion criteria. Within these articles, 10 assessment tools evaluated OR NTS. Kin constructs were grouped into six NTS categories in the following decreasing frequency order: communication, situation awareness, teamwork, leadership, decision making, and task management/decision making (equal). Conclusion NTS OR assessment tools in the literature have a variety of kin constructs related to the specific measured components within the instruments. Such kin constructs contain thematic cohesion across six primary NTS groupings with some variation in scale and scope. Future plans include using this information to develop an easy-to-use assessment tool to assist with debriefing in the clinical environment.

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