Training novice anaesthesiology trainees to speak up for patient safety

Rodrigo J. Daly Guris, Shirley S. Duarte, Christina R. Miller, Adam Schiavi, Serkan Toy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Effectively communicating patient safety concerns in the operating theatre is crucial, but novice trainees often struggle to develop effective speaking up behaviour. Our primary objective was to test whether repeated simulation-based practice helps trainees speak up about patient management concerns. We also tested the effect of an additional didactic intervention over standard simulation education. Methods: This prospective observational study with a nested double-blind, randomised controlled component took place during a week-long simulation boot camp. Participants were randomised to receive simulation education (SE), or simulation education plus a didactic session on speaking up behaviour (SE+). Outcome measures were: changes in intrapersonal factors for speaking up (self-efficacy, social outcome expectations, and assertiveness), and speaking up performance during four simulated scenarios. Participants self-reported intrapersonal factors and blinded observers scored speaking up behaviour. Cognitive burden for each simulation was also measured using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index. Mixed-design analysis of variance was used to analyse scores. Results: Twenty-two participants (11 per group) were included. There was no significant interaction between group and time for any outcome measure. There was a main effect for time for self-efficacy (P<0.001); for social outcome expectations (P<0.001); for assertive attitude (P=0.003); and for speaking up scores (P=0.001). The SE+ group's assertive attitude scores increased at follow-up whereas the SE group reverted to near baseline scores (P=0.025). Conclusions: In novice anaesthesia trainees, intrapersonal factors and communication performance benefit from repeated simulation training. Focused teaching may help trainees develop assertive behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-775
Number of pages9
JournalBritish journal of anaesthesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • assertiveness
  • communication
  • medical education
  • patient safety
  • simulation training
  • speaking up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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