Catch Louise Grant @ ACORN

Can you hear me?’ 

Health professionals working in the operating room and their experiences of how noise influences communication 

Presenter: Mrs Louise Grant 

Thursday 24th of May 2018 @ 12:15

Make sure you catch Louise's talk. 

We heard her first @ ACORN 2014 in Melbourne and she was fantastic. 

Louise is a wealth of knowledge with her own excellent cutting edge research to boot!


“Can you hear me?” Health professionals working in the operating room and their experiences of how noise influences communication. 

Mrs Louise Grant1, Professor Elizabeth Manias1,2, Associate Professor Patricia Nicholson1,2, Associate Professor Bronwyn Davidson1 1The University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, 2Deakin University, Burwood, Australia 

Introduction: Communication in the operating room is a complex process. There are a number of sources of noise affecting communication, including conversations between members of the team, surgical equipment, and noise from equipment controlling the environment. Limited research has been conducted on how noise affects communication, and how health professionals communicate in the presence of noise in the operating room. The aim of this research is to explore how communication between health professionals in the operating room is influenced by noise. Methods: Twenty-six semi-structured interviews were undertaken with surgeons, anaesthetists, registrars, nurses, and theatre technicians to explore their perceptions of communication and noise during surgery. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed utilising thematic analysis. Results: Health professionals found communicating in the operating room challenging in the presence of noise. Barriers to communication included wearing facemasks, use of power tools, and simultaneous conversations. Ambient sounds prevented health professionals from hearing requests for instruments, or hearing alarms from the anaesthetic machine. However, music was found to have contradictory roles as it impacted negatively on some conversations but also motivated health professionals. Non-verbal communication techniques, such as hand gestures and eye contact, were reported to facilitate communication. Conclusion: Health professionals related many occasions where they could not hear conversations, or sounds associated with surgery, and expressed concern about the safe delivery of patient care being threatened due to noise in the operating room. Strategies need to be developed to help health professionals address the possible impact of noise on their communication processes. 

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