Surgeons' performance during critical situations

competence, confidence, and composure

Katie Wiggins-Dohlvik, Ronald M Stewart, Rachelle Jonas Babbitt, Jonathan A Gelfond, Lee Ann Zarzabal, Ross Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Little is known about surgeons' performance during critical situations. We hypothesized that there are methods and techniques used by surgeons that facilitate performance during critical situations. Methods: Surgical faculty and senior general surgery residents from a single academic health center were surveyed. Results: Twenty-six surgeons participated. With respect to critical situations, the surgeons felt confident (96%), expected to be successful (96%), and most did not find these situations particularly stressful (62%). The majority reported using learned skills (92%) and agree their skills can be taught (82%). Practice and preparation were reported as very important (89%). A majority use pre-emptive visualization (68%). Competence, confidence, composure, preparation, and experience were most commonly listed as characteristics or behaviors that should be encouraged in aspiring surgeons. Anger, panic, indecision, fear, and chaos were the most commonly listed characteristics that should be discouraged. Conclusions: Surgeons' response to performance under pressure is complex; however, surgeons report using simple, learned techniques that seem to be targeted toward eliminating the "fight or flight" sympathetic nervous system response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-823
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Volume198
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2009

Fingerprint

Mental Competency
Panic
Sympathetic Nervous System
Anger
Surgeons
Fear
Pressure
Health

Keywords

  • Critical situation
  • Performance under pressure
  • Stress
  • Surgeon performance
  • Surgery
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

Surgeons' performance during critical situations : competence, confidence, and composure. / Wiggins-Dohlvik, Katie; Stewart, Ronald M; Babbitt, Rachelle Jonas; Gelfond, Jonathan A; Zarzabal, Lee Ann; Willis, Ross.

In: American Journal of Surgery, Vol. 198, No. 6, 12.2009, p. 817-823.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wiggins-Dohlvik, Katie ; Stewart, Ronald M ; Babbitt, Rachelle Jonas ; Gelfond, Jonathan A ; Zarzabal, Lee Ann ; Willis, Ross. / Surgeons' performance during critical situations : competence, confidence, and composure. In: American Journal of Surgery. 2009 ; Vol. 198, No. 6. pp. 817-823.
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