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Ensuring Safer Births: Obstetricians, Gynaecologists, & Psychologists Come Together

The Centre for Transformative Work Design seeks to bridge the gap between research and practice, as well as to build links with other diciplines. Consistent with these objectives, the CTWD is proud to highlight presentations at the RANZCOG (Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists) Annual Scientific Meeting by three UWA Business School researchers: Centre Director, Sharon Parker, Joseph Carpini (3rd year PhD candidate) and Sandra Kiffin-Petersen (Associate Professor). Several hundred surgeons and trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology attended the presentations on October 18th at the Perth Crown Convention Centre.

Presentation by Professor Sharon Parker:

Sharon’s presentation examined silence (withholding one's view even when it is relevant) within the workplace, such as failing to speak out in the face of a problem. Drawing on examples from other contexts such as wildfire fighting and aviation, Sharon described the prevalence of silence at work, as well as how it causes negative outcomes like disasters, harm to patients, and lowered innovation. She argued that, by understanding why silence occurs, it it possible to identify ways to break the silence. Sharon presented a series of recommendations for encouraging voice in the operating theatre including providing training on effective ways of voicing, providing role clarity, and developing leaders who behave in ways that facilitate one's psychological safety for speaking out.

Presentation by Professor Sandra Kiffin-Petersen:

What role do emotions play in our ability to learn and perform complex tasks? This was the focus of Sandra Kiffin-Petersen’s talk which presented preliminary results of a qualitative event-based study involving 14 obstetrics and gynaecology trainees. Results suggest differential pathways through which positive and negative events translate into learning outcomes such that positive emotions are much more highly related to learning experiences than negative events. Preliminary evidence was also presented supporting the narrowing-effect of negative emotions on cognitive processes whereas positive emotions facilitated a broadening-effect. Implications for training and interventions were discussed.

Presentation by PhD Candidate Joseph Carpini:

Joseph presented his research on multidisciplinary team briefings. Joseph highlighted the significant body of research amassed by the UWA research team demonstrating the utility of team briefings in improving important outcomes such as patient safety, staff engagement, and theatre efficiency. Joseph presented the SWANS 5-step model of briefings (introductions, overview, cases, questions, summary). Practical issues related to the implementation of briefings in hospital settings were discussed.

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