Improving Surgical Safety and Nontechnical Skills in Variable-Resource Contexts: A Novel Educational Curriculum

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Abstract

Objective: A substantial proportion of adverse intraoperative events are attributed to failures in nontechnical skills. To strengthen these skills and improve surgical safety, the Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons (NOTSS) taxonomy was developed as a common framework. The NOTSS taxonomy was adapted for low- and middle-income countries, where variable resources pose a significant challenge to safe surgery. The NOTSS for variable-resource contexts (VRC) curriculum was developed and implemented in Rwanda, with the aim of enhancing knowledge and attitudes about nontechnical skills and promoting surgical safety. Design: The NOTSS-VRC curriculum was developed through a rigorous process of integrating contextually appropriate values. It was implemented as a 1-day training course for surgical and anesthesia postgraduate trainees. The curriculum comprises lectures, videos, and group discussions. A pretraining and posttraining questionnaire was administered to compare knowledge and attitudes regarding nontechnical skills, and their potential to improve surgical safety. Setting: The setting of this study was in the tertiary teaching hospital of Kigali, Rwanda. Participants: Participants were residents of the University of Kigali. A total of 55 residents participated from general surgery (31.4%), obstetrics (25.5%), anesthesia (17.6%), and other surgical specialties (25.5%). Results: In a paired analysis, understanding of NOTSS improved significantly (55.6% precourse, 80.9% postcourse, p<0.01). All residents reported that the course would improve their ability to provide safer patient care, and 97.4% believed developing nontechnical skills would improve patient outcomes. Conclusions: Nontechnical skills must be highlighted in surgical training in low- and middle-income countries. The NOTSS-VRC curriculum can be implemented without additional technology or significant financial cost. Its deliberate design for resource-constrained settings allows it to be used both as an educational course and a quality improvement strategy. Our research demonstrates it is feasible to improve knowledge and attitudes about NOTSS through a 1-day course, and represents a novel approach to improving global surgical safety.

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APA

Lin, Y., Scott, J. W., Yi, S., Taylor, K. K., Ntakiyiruta, G., Ntirenganya, F., … Riviello, R. (2018). Improving Surgical Safety and Nontechnical Skills in Variable-Resource Contexts: A Novel Educational Curriculum. Journal of Surgical Education, 75(4), 1014–1021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsurg.2017.09.014

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