Features  |   May 2014
Situational Awareness, Multitasking, and Distraction in the O.R.
Author Affiliations
  • Sara E. Neves, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
  • Roy G. Soto, M.D.
    Committee on Patient Safety and Education
Article Information
Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems / Education / CPD / Features
Features   |   May 2014
Situational Awareness, Multitasking, and Distraction in the O.R.
ASA Monitor 05 2014, Vol.78, 10-11.
ASA Monitor 05 2014, Vol.78, 10-11.
Traffic accidents are attributed to texting while driving; parents worry about their children’s phone addiction; psychologists define new technology-related disorders; employers struggle to maintain productivity while employees tweet during work hours. Everywhere there is concern about the evolving role of technology in our lives and our ability to adapt. Anesthesiologists are familiar with this controversy: we use rapidly changing technology-driven data to care for our patients on a daily basis. We are aware of the potential for distractibility in the O.R., whether from multiple alarms and ambient noise and lights, or from reading, talking or crossword puzzles. We want our trainees to pay better attention, yet they work in an increasingly distracting environment. Are we better adapted to a distracting environment or are we deluding ourselves as much as any texting driver? Must we prepare our trainees to adapt to this technological environment, or are they already more suited to it than those of use who trained but a decade ago?
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