Australian surgeons are wearing their names on their caps, and here's the awesome reason why

Dr. Rob Hackett decided to get to work wearing a red cap with his name and profession labeled on it. On being further questioned he said that it was to reduce errors that could go as far as potentially costing patients their lives due to miscommunication caused by staff not knowing each other's names.


                            Australian surgeons are wearing their names on their caps, and here's the awesome reason why

Dr. Rob Hackett was greeted quite unusually when he started checking into work wearing a scrub cap with his name on it. "Rob... Anaesthetist" was written in bold and black across his forehead representing all the years of practice he had done to be able to honor that title. 

He received mixed reactions from all - both his fellow co-workers and doctors and his patients. His patients seemed wary of being cut open by a man who had his name on his forehead thinking to themselves - how does one allow someone to cut open their body when they might not even remember their own name? His doctors on the other hand - looked at him confused and unsure of how they should react. 

"You look a little daft because not everyone is doing it," Dr. Hackett said.

"There were some snide remarks, like 'can't you remember your name'."

It wasn't just one sunny morning when Sydney anesthetist, Dr. Rob Hackett, woke up and decided to get to work wearing a red cap with his name and profession labeled on it. On being further questioned he said that it was to reduce errors that could go as far as potentially costing patients their lives due to miscommunication caused by staff not knowing each other's names. 

Coming to think about it can be a harrowing experience if clinicians find themselves arguing or being unable to recognize or remember the names of their colleagues in the operating theater. Dr. Hackett hopes that this change will improve patient safety as well as "reduce chance of delays and misidentifications" caused by miscommunication. 

As many people are unsure of and disagree with Hackett's idea - as many doctors, surgeons, anesthetists, nurses, midwives and other practitioners sided with his reasons and are sharing photographs of them with labeled caps as a tribute to his idea. Surgeons from Australia, the UK, US, Europe and South America have used the hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge to share multimedia images/videos of their own "name-caps" a hashtag fever as started by Alison Brindle, a UK student midwife. 

 

#theatrecapchallenge

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D Hackett accepted the fact that the campaign had received some resistance from the senior hospital staff and attributed the same to "symptomatic of inertia in the health system towards change." "This is a really simple intervention," said Hackett, who is now trying to collaborate with hospitals to run trials to gauge whether or not the name-caps were actually bringing about positive change.

When doctors or practitioners are scrubbing in on an operation - their faces are almost completely covered by their caps and facemasks that is used to prevent the exchange of germs between the patients and the doctors. Their eyes and eyebrows are often the only things that are visible - which can make it differing one doctor from the other hard. 

During a medical emergency, every second is crucial and must be invested towards saving the patients life - fumbling over the colleague's name in the operating theater can cost otherwise avoidable loss - as seconded by the campaign's supporters. 

Clinicians usually spend the day working with hundreds of other clinicians in multiple departments - leading to a higher and an equally understandable chance of forgetting names. "The revolving door of partial faces can make recognizing your fellow staff member instantly, in time-critical moments, challenging" as admitted by those in the industry. 

Labelled "name caps" could also ease assigning tasks to doctors significantly. As noted by Dr. Hackett - "In a critical iteration of the bystander effect, there have been delays in performing chest compressions on patients in cardiac arrest because no one in the operating room at the time knew who the clinician had tasked with the job since they had not referred to anyone by their name." 

Other stories of misidentifying someone also came up when theater staff told Dr. Hackett of incidents where medical students had been grossly mistaken for senior surgery registrars and asked instead to complete the procedures - when they weren't qualified enough to do so. 

"When you work across four or five hospitals and with hundreds of people, I'd say 75 percent of staff I walk past I don't know their name. It's quite awkward," Dr Hackett said.
"Last Friday I went to a cardiac arrest in a theatre where there were about 20 people in the room. I struggled to even ask to be passed some gloves because the person I was pointing to thought I was pointing to the person behind them."
"It's so much easier to coordinate when you know everyone's names. It's great for camaraderie and it's great for patients as well."

Dr. Hackett further pointed out that women who are delivering children tend to be reassured to knowing the names and positions of staff members who are taking care of her baby - especially in the case of those mothers who are due to deliver through cesarean sections. 

The World Health Organisation's surgical safety checklist requires all staff to introduce themselves before commencing the surgery procedure. However, unfortunately, Dr. Hackett said that he doesn't notice many people who are in practice of this routine - when he says, "When it's done properly there are a few giggles from people, which tells me it's not done regularly."

This campaign is a stark reminder of the #hellomynameis campaign founded by Dr. Kate Granger, who died of cancer 2016. Dr. Granger who was admitted to a hospital for post-operative sepsis in 2013 found to her dismay that many staff members who were to be taking care of her - did not introduce themselves and thus missed out on a chance to create a long-lasting and therapeutic relationship between carers and patients. In an attempt to change how things were going - she started the aforementioned campaign which brought much-needed awareness of the lacking intimacy between patient and their carers.

Dr. John Quinn, Executive Director Surgical Affairs at the Royal Australian College of Surgeons was reported acknowledging the #TheatreCapChallenge campaign to be "a fine idea".

"Anything that increases safety for patients in operating theatres is a good thing..I don't see a downside to it..I guess it's just a matter of whether they use their full name or first name, though just 'Tim' is better than anything in a crisis," Quinn said. 

President of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Professor David Scott was also of the belief that any move that had the potential of improving coordination in operating rooms amongst team members was worth testing out even if it meant walking around with your name in bold on badges or caps during scrubs.

"No one strategy is going to make a dramatic difference but knowing who's who in a busy operating room means teams will be able to communicate more effectively," he said.

 

 

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