Teamwork reduces physiological stress in junior surgeons

Tschan, Franziska; Huguenin, M; Seelandt, JC; Semmer, Norbert; Keller, S; Nuoffer, Jean-Marc; Candinas, Daniel; Beldi, Guido (May 2014). Teamwork reduces physiological stress in junior surgeons. British journal of surgery, 101(S5), p. 8. John Wright & Sons

Objective: The quality of teamwork depends not only on communication skills but also on team familiarity and hierarchical structures. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the physiological impact of close teamwork between senior and junior surgeons performing elective open abdominal surgery for six months in stable teams. Methods: Physiological measurements of the main and junior surgeons were taken in a total of 40 procedures. Cumulative stress was assessed by the mea- surements of urine catecholamines (Adrenaline, Noradrenaline, Dopamine, Metanephrine, Normetanephrine). Heart rate variability was measured to assess temporal aspects of stress. The procedures were observed by a trained team of work psychologists. Direct observations of distractors, team inter- actions and communication were performed. Specific questionnaires were filled by members of the surgical team that include surgeons, nurses and anesthetists. Results: In junior surgeons, physiological stress is reduced over a period of close collaboration. Case-related communication is not stressful. However, tension within the surgical team is associated with increased levels of cat- echolamine in the urine of the senior surgeon. The difficulty of the oper- ation impacts on heart-rate variability of the junior but not of the senior surgeon. Conclusion: Junior surgeons may require months of teamwork within one stable team in order to reduce levels of physiological stress. Senior surgeons are more resistant to stressful clinical situations compared to junior surgeons but are vulnerable to tension within the surgical team.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gastro-intestinal, Liver and Lung Disorders (DMLL) > Clinic of Visceral Surgery and Medicine > Visceral Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Endokrinologie / Diabetologie / Metabolik (Pädiatrie)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Work and Organisational Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Tschan, Franziska; Semmer, Norbert; Nuoffer, Jean-Marc; Candinas, Daniel and Beldi, Guido


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




John Wright & Sons




Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

31 Mar 2015 14:39

Last Modified:

31 Mar 2015 14:39


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