Leveraging the power of collaboration to foster safe care
Reducing risks in surgery: Using a checklist
Type of activity: Group activity
This activity encourages learners to interact with clinicians who use checklists as part of their routine practice. The facilitation questions and suggestions to faculty are focused on helping learners to understand the utility of checklists and to consider how and when they are best used.
Ask learners to form into groups of 3 or 4 and make arrangements to interview a member of a surgical team (e.g. operating room nurse, surgical resident, staff surgeon, obstetrician, anesthesiologist) that uses a surgical or anaesthetic checklist.
When interviewing the clinician, learners should ensure they cover the following content:
- how the checklist is used
- the benefits of the checklist to patient safety
- challenges of using or implementing checklists
- any suggested improvements to the checklist itself, or to its use
Leaners should be prepared to present their findings to the class, either formally (e.g. using a PowerPoint presentation) or informally. Faculty may also decide to have learners submit a written assignment as individuals or in groups.
Examples of questions that may be used to debrief the learners as a large group, once all presentations have occurred, include:
- Discuss any variability in clinicians' assessments of checklists.
- Did they differ by profession, specialty, or institution? Discuss.
- Are there clinical situations in which checklists are not currently used, but may benefit from the introduction of a checklist? Discuss.
- Are there clinical situations that do not require checklists? Discuss.
- Re-visit the challenges to implementing checklists. What are some strategies for dealing with these challenges?
Suggestions to faculty
It is not always possible or feasible for learners to interview a clinician. An alternative could be to have learners form small groups to discuss the content areas themselves and return as a large group to debrief using the trigger questions.
CanMEDS: Medical Expert,