Lay summary
TitleInterpersonal learning behaviors in medical teamsPrincipal investigatorsProf. Dr. Petra Klumb, University of Fribourg und Prof. Dr. Daniel Scheidegger, University Clinic BaselAimsIn medical organizations, learning is important for the adaptation to changing demands and thereby ensures continuity in patient care. Handoffs from one work shift to the next are a focal point of learning. With this study we aim at identifying predictors, concomitants, and consequences of learning behaviors during shift transitions and at improving the handoff process.RelevanceThe number of shift handoffs in Swiss hospitals increased recently because of the introduction of the 50-hour work week for medical doctors. The present study will contribute to our knowledge about effective communication during handoffs in complex patient care teams. It will result in recommendations regarding how to further strengthen communication and learning among nurses. Furthermore, we will try to extend the knowledge gained from studying nurses and apply it to physicians. It may benefit society through increased knowledge of interpersonal behaviors that medical teams can use during handoffs to proactively enhance the accurate transfer of medical information about patients to the oncoming shifts, to socialize and train novices, and to create a healthy safety culture. All this is in the service of patient safety.Scientific background and methodologyThe study is rooted in the literature on team learning and will extend and test Edmondson’s model on learning behaviors. While assessing both behaviors that are prescribed by one’s work role (in-role) and those that go beyond one’s role (extra-role) during shift transitions, the study focuses to a greater extent on the extra-role ones that are performed for the common good. In a multi-method approach, we will combine surveys with document analyses and audio recordings. Individual and team characteristics such as team composition assessed via survey are expected to predict differences in learning behaviors which we will assess by sampling shift-handoffs with the aid of handheld computers.