The effects of stress on surgical performance.

Wetzel, C. M., Kneebone, R., Woloshynowych, M., Nestel, D., Moorthy, K., Kidd, J. and Darzi, A. 2006. The effects of stress on surgical performance. The American Journal of Surgery. 191 (1), pp. 5-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2005.08.034

TitleThe effects of stress on surgical performance.
TypeJournal article
AuthorsWetzel, C. M., Kneebone, R., Woloshynowych, M., Nestel, D., Moorthy, K., Kidd, J. and Darzi, A.
Abstract

Background
Although the general literature on stress and performance is extensive, little is known about specific effects of stress in surgical practice. This qualitative study explored key surgical stressors, their impact on performance, and coping strategies used by surgeons.
Methods
Individual in-depth semistructured interviews with surgeons were analyzed by 2 researchers independently. Key themes were discussed within the research team.
Results
Sixteen interviews were performed, including interviews with consultants (n = 9) and surgeons in training (n = 7). A wide range of intraoperative stressors was identified. Although stress had both positive and negative effects, undue levels of stress impaired judgment, decision making, and communication. Although junior surgeons showed uncertainty about their ability to cope, senior surgeons had developed sophisticated strategies for controlling each situation.
Conclusions
Although stress poses significant risks, coping strategies are not taught explicitly during surgical training. This article presents a framework for categorizing surgical stress and suggests key elements for effective coping strategies.

KeywordsOccupational stress
Surgical performance
Coping strategies
Training
Qualitative research
JournalThe American Journal of Surgery
Journal citation191 (1), pp. 5-10
ISSN0002-9610
Year2006
PublisherElsevier
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2005.08.034
PubMed ID16399098
Web address (URL)https://www.americanjournalofsurgery.com/article/S0002-9610(05)00732-4/fulltext
Publication dates
Published2006

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