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Measuring non-technical skills in medical emergency care: a review of assessment measures

Authors Cooper S, Endacott R, Cant R

Published 21 January 2010 Volume 2010:2 Pages 7—16


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Simon Cooper1, Ruth Endacott2, Robyn Cant1

1School of Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Victoria, Australia; 2School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth UK

Aim: To review the literature on non-technical skills and assessment methods relevant to emergency care.

Background: Non-technical skills (NTS) include leadership, teamwork, decision making and situation awareness, all of which have an impact on healthcare outcomes. Significant concerns have been raised about the rates of adverse medical events, many of which are attributed to NTS failures.

Methods: Ovid, Medline, ProQUEST, PsycINFO and specialty websites were searched for NTS measures using applicable access strategies, inclusion and exclusion criteria. Publications identified were assessed for relevance.

Results: A range of non-technical skill measures relevant to emergency care was identified: leadership (n = 5), teamwork (n = 7), personality/behavior (n = 3) and situation awareness tools (n = 1). Of these, 9 have been used with emergency care populations/clinicians. All had varying degrees of reliability and validity. In the last decade there has been some development of teamwork measures specific to emergency care with a predominantly global and collective rating of broad skills.

Conclusion: A variety of non-technical skill measures are available; only a few have been used in the emergency care arena. There is a need for an increase in the focused assessment of teamwork skills for a greater understanding of team performance to enhance patient safety in medical emergency care.

Keywords: non-technical skills, teamwork, medical emergency, standards

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