Examining the surgical stress effects (SSE) framework in practice: A qualitative assessment of perceived sources and consequences of intraoperative stress in surgical teams

Kristin L. Chrouser, Melissa R. Partin, Izzy Gainsburg, Katie M. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Surgical adverse events persist despite extensive improvement efforts. Emotional and behavioral responses to stressors may influence intraoperative performance, as illustrated in the surgical stress effects (SSE) framework. However, the SSE has not been assessed using “real world” data. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with all surgical team roles at one midwestern VA hospital and elicited narratives involving intraoperative stress. Two coders inductively identified codes from transcripts. The team identified themes among codes and assessed concordance with the SSE framework. Results: Throughout 28 interviews, we found surgical stress was ubiquitous, associated with a variety of factors, including adverse events. Stressors often elicited frustration, anger, fear, and anxiety; behavioral reactions to negative emotions frequently were perceived to degrade individual/team performance and compromise outcomes. Narratives were consistent with the SSE framework and support adding a process outcome (efficiency) and illustrating how adverse events can feedback and acutely increase job demands and stress. Conclusion: This qualitative study describes narratives of intraoperative stress, finding they are consistent with the SSE while also allowing minor improvements to the current framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Volume228
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

Keywords

  • Adverse event
  • Emotion
  • Qualitative research
  • Stress
  • Surgery
  • Teamwork

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