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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-94

Gibson's theory of affordances and situational awareness occurring in urban departments of pediatrics, medicine, and emergency medicine

1 Weill Cornell Medicine/New York-Presbyterian Simulation Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA
2 Department of Emergency Medicine, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, USA
3 Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA
4 Department of Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA
5 Department of Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine New York-Presbyterian Simulation Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, USA

Correspondence Address:
Timothy C Clapper
525 East 68th Street, New York 10065
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_33_18

Background: The Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS®) program provides a situation-monitoring tool that allows health-care professionals to perform an environmental scan. This process includes scanning the status of the patient, team members, and the environment, to ensure that patient care is progressing toward the goal. It is assumed that health-care professionals will act in a certain way by providing feedback and support based on the scan. However, there is limited research supporting the impact of the clinical environment on behavior among health-care professionals. Methods: This qualitative research used in situ simulation and a theoretical sampling of six day and overnight shift clinical teams (n = 34) from three departments in an urban hospital in New York City: pediatric medicine, emergency medicine, and internal medicine. Notebook entries by the participants at three intervals during the case and a debriefing following the cases captured participant views, observations, and concerns about the immediate clinical environment. Results: In all six cases, and with every shift, there were documented examples of someone in the environment who saw something but did not speak up, possibly making a difference in regard to patient safety and the outcomes in the case. Some of the noted reasons include not wanting to be wrong, not wanting to hurt someone's feelings, or not being sure. Discussion: Our research explored the environmental scan that health-care team members conducted in three unique department settings, including how they perceived affordances, and the reasons why individuals may not speak up when another team member is not performing properly. Each person possesses a unique awareness and deficit of available affordances because of his/her position in the environment. Patient safety is somewhat reliant on the views and observations of each team member. Educators should use these outcomes to justify teamwork and communication training that includes targeted emphasis on providing candid feedback, situation monitoring, and mutual support.

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