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Durham Research Online
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Surgical incidents and their impact on operating theatre staff: qualitative study

Serou, N and Slight, S P and Husband, A K and Forrest, S P and Slight, R D (2021) 'Surgical incidents and their impact on operating theatre staff: qualitative study.', BJS Open, 5 (2).

Abstract

Background Surgical incidents can have significant effects on both patients and health professionals, including emotional distress and depression. The aim of this study was to explore the personal and professional impacts of surgical incidents on operating theatre staff. Methods Face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted with a range of different healthcare professionals working in operating theatres, including surgeons and anaesthetists, operating department practitioners, and theatre nurses, and across different surgical specialties at five different hospitals. All interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using an inductive thematic approach, which involved reading and re-reading the transcripts, assigning preliminary codes, and searching for patterns and themes within the codes, with the aid of NVivo 12 software. These emerging themes were discussed with the wider research team to gain their input. Results Some 45 interviews were conducted, generally lasting between 30 and 75 min. Three overarching themes emerged: personal and professional impact; impact of the investigation process; and positive consequences or impact. Participants recalled experiencing negative emotions following surgical incidents that depended on the severity of the incident, patient outcomes, and the support that staff received. A culture of blame, inadequate support, and lack of a clear and transparent investigative process appeared to worsen impact. Conclusion The study indicated that more support is needed for operating theatre staff involved in surgical incidents. Greater transparency and better information during the investigation of such incidents for staff are still needed.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsopen/zraa007
Publisher statement:© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of BJS Society Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com
Date accepted:01 September 2020
Date deposited:29 June 2021
Date of first online publication:22 December 2020
Date first made open access:29 June 2021

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