To complement the Training in Professional Skills Course (TIPS), the TIPS committee together with a working group of SMEs have developed a series of Human Factors eLearning modules. The modules were developed to provide emerging surgeons with an awareness of the impact of human factors on surgical practice and risk mitigation, and to improve patient outcomes.
The comprehensive suite of online resources includes videos, interactive activities, reading, and knowledge checks.
Topics covered include stress and resilience, conflict management, situation awareness, decision making, team dynamics, and speaking up in response to unacceptable behaviour.
How to access
The Human Factors modules are available via the RACS learning management system (LMS) Moodle. There are seven subjects, please find links to the modules below:
- Conflict management
- Decision making
- Patient-centred communication
- Situation awareness
- Speaking up in response to unacceptable behaviour
- Stress and resilience
- Team Dynamics
The modules should take approximately three hours to complete.
"Enjoyed the modules - good content, well laid out. I will likely revisit them again. The accompanying material was of great quality and value to me. There was some interesting and thought-provoking reading." (August 2019)
"I enjoyed them all because all were very relevant for everyday clinical work." (October 2019)
"Very relevant to practice with good models and applicant during the sessions" (October 2019)
"Good videos. Good test. Like how it's not a strict test." (February 2020)
"The use of videos were really good as they helped to consolidate the theoretical principles taught in each module." (July 2019)
Human factors come under a number of names including professional skills, behavioural skills and non-technical skills. Non-technical skills is perhaps the most popular and well-recognised term, but it is considered by some as a misnomer as these skills are highly technical. The knowledge, skill and rehearsal required to conduct a difficult conversation with patients and relatives or perform in a team as both an active follower and leader is just as technically demanding as that which is required for a difficult surgical procedure. A lack of skills in human factors can be just as devastating and dangerous as a technical operative failure to patient, your team and your own wellbeing.
A number of studies indicate that more than 70 per cent of surgical harm is due to failure of the professional skills; of misperception, loss of situation awareness and decision making rather than a failure of technical skills. Many Trainees who do not make it through the training process underachieve in the non-technical areas. Until quite recently, surgical training focused mostly on medical and technical skills.
There is a tendency to think the key aspects are our technical skills, but in fact the harder aspects to master are the non-technical skills. Evidence shows that when non-technical skills are performed badly, there is a direct link to adverse surgical outcomes (Rosenstein 2011; Catron et al. 2016; Cooper et al. 2017). Throughout these modules, many of the topics link to other College resources should you wish to further explore that particular area.
Rosenstein A. The Quality and Economic Impact of Disruptive Behaviours on Clinical Outcomes of Patient Care. American Journal of Medical Quality. 2011;26(5):372-379.
Catron T, Guillamondegui O, Karrass J, Cooper W, Martin B, Dmochowski R et al. Patient Complaints and Adverse Surgical Outcomes. American Journal of Medical Quality. 2016;31(5):415-422.
Cooper W, Guillamondegui O, Hines O, Hultman C, Kelz R, Shen P et al. Use of Unsolicited Patient Observations to Identify Surgeons With Increased Risk for Postoperative Complications. JAMA Surgery. 2017;152(6):522.