The effects of stress and coping on surgical performance during simulations

Cordula M Wetzel, Stephen A Black, George B Hanna, Thanos Athanasiou, Roger L Kneebone, Debra Nestel, John H N Wolfe, Maria Woloshynowych
Annals of Surgery 2010, 251 (1): 171-6

OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the effects of surgeons' stress levels and coping strategies on surgical performance during simulated operations.

METHODS: Thirty surgeons carried out each a non-crisis and a crisis scenario of a simulated operation. Surgeons' stress levels were assessed by several measures: self-assessments and observer ratings of stress, heart rate, heart rate variability, and salivary cortisol. Coping strategies were explored qualitatively and quantified to a coping score. Experience in surgery was included as an additional predictor. Outcome measures consisted of technical surgical skills using Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skill (OSATS), nontechnical surgical skills using Observational Teamwork Assessment for Surgery (OTAS), and the quality of the operative end product using End Product Assessment (EPA). Uni- and multivariate linear regression were used to assess the independent effects of predictor variables on each performance measure.

RESULTS: During the non-crisis simulation, a high coping score and experience significantly enhanced EPA (beta1, 0.279; 0.009-0.460; P= 0.04; beta2, 0.571; 4.328-12.669, P< 0.001; respectively). During the crisis simulation, a significant beneficial effect of the interaction of high experience and low stress on all performance measures was found (EPA: beta, 0.537; 2.079-8.543; OSATS: beta, 0.707; 8.708-17.860; OTAS: beta, 0.654; 13.090-30.483; P< 0.01). Coping significantly enhanced nontechnical skills (beta, 0.302; 0.117-1.624, P= 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians' stress and coping influenced surgical performance during simulated operations. Hence, these are critical factors for the quality of health care.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"