Stress has repeatedly been acknowledged as a contributing factor to adverse events in team-based settings and is widely recognized as a critical factor affecting performance in aviation, the military, professional sports, and medicine. Specifically, if people experience acute stress, the way they think and how they interact may become disrupted. In this study, we will show learners how their performance is affected by acute stress. Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques, patterns of effective acute stress management will be developed for trauma resuscitation, a time-sensitive and high stress clinical environment. Simulations will be conducted with resuscitation teams, and performance will be assessed through real-time behavior and physiological measures. Teams will be shown their performance assessments, and will be taught to adjust their performance to better manage acute stress. As a result, teams can recover more quickly and manage their acute stress more effectively. This project will result in improved stress management during trauma resuscitation, providing essential knowledge for trauma teams but with generalizability to other medical settings.

Public Health Relevance

Critically injured patients have up to a four-fold higher risk of death from errors than general hospital patients, and nearly half of the preventable deaths related to errors occur during the initial resuscitation phase of treatment. Acute stress can impact a provider's ability to give optimal care. Despite increased interest in patient safety and process measurement, there is still a lack of knowledge about how to train acute stress management to improve quality of care. This project will use a real-time, data-driven acute stress management assessment and training during trauma resuscitation simulations to give learners the opportunity to better understand and mitigate the consequences of performance under acute stress.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Demonstration and Dissemination Projects (R18)
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Health Care Quality and Effectiveness Research (HQER)
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Henriksen, Kerm
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Medstar Research Institute
United States
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Parker, Sarah Henrickson (2015) Human Factors Science: Brief History and Applications to Healthcare. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care 45:390-4