August 29, 2023

Sources, consequences of intraoperative stress in surgical teams

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

This study from the Minneapolis VA Healthcare System finds that intraoperative stress in surgical teams is common and has multiple sources, including adverse events.

Researchers conducted 28 interviews with surgical team members on intraoperative stress and emotional and behavioral responses to stressors. The researchers then identified themes in the interviews and assessed their concordance with the Surgical Stress Effects (SSE) framework (ie, how emotional and behavioral responses to stressors can influence individual surgical provider performance, team performance, and patient outcomes).

Among the findings:

  • Intraoperative stressors elicited emotions of frustration, anger, fear, and anxiety.
  • Behavioral reactions to negative emotions were perceived to degrade individual and team performance and compromise outcomes.

The findings provide support for the SSE framework and adding efficiency as a process outcome. The findings also illustrate how adverse events can feedback and acutely increase job demands and stress, the researchers note.

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