RBHT Teamwork Training

Akenham were asked to support Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS’s FT Shine 2012 award project, which looked to improve Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory procedures.

Whilst the hospitals found it easy to support the technical development of the teams, they found it difficult to get the teams to understand why they were struggling with communication and team coordination when using the new equipment. The hospitals asked us to create an exercise which showed how and why communication breaks down and what can be done to overcome it.

We discussed the clear parallels between the processes and sometimes the urgency, with which Formula 1 pit crews and cath lab teams work daily. We therefore created an ‘F1 Pit Stop’ scenario as a vehicle for development.

The teams had to jack the car, remove the tires and put new tires on the car, whilst following strict the safety regulations. To be successful they had to communicate clearly and anticipate what their colleagues were doing – all skills that are regularly tested in the labs.

Whilst the exercise looked easy, and they had plenty of practice time, the teams would struggle as soon as the exercise was timed. This gave them the chance to see what they needed to do in this exercise to improve and then in the lab.

Now they were aware of the issues and the solutions, we asked them to repeat the task, we again reviewed and refined their approach and repeated the exercise a final time.

The improvements in communication, team co-ordination, and performance were hugely improved by the end. The exercise was very well received and the consensus was that the staff bonded as a team and will take what they learnt, back to the labs.

Feedback comments

A very productive day – I hope it will run again
Very impressive
The exercise improved morale
[It] encouraged group discussion & decision making in a fun way
A useful, open & frank discussion
Great idea; our communication improved dramatically

“This training day has had a positive impact on team morale and has broadened people’s understanding of effective team work and communication. The lessons learned will enable staff to work more effectively together, which can only have a positive impact on patient safety.”

Jeremy Bishop, Q&S Lead, Harefield Hospital