Surgery staff wear names, professions on scrub caps to avoid mix-ups and errors

Dr Rob Hackett was met with smirks and confused, occasionally derisive, looks when he started turning up to surgeries with his name and profession emblazoned in bold black typeface across his scrub cap.

“Rob ??? Anaesthetist”, his forehead announced to colleagues and patients alike.

“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’.”

But six months on, Dr Hackett’s bid to improve patient safety is gradually gaining support from surgical staff in and internationally.

The move, they argue, could reduce the chances of delays and misidentification when clinicians can’t recognise or can’t remember the names of their colleagues in the operating theatre.

Surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, midwives and other clinical specialists are sharing photos of themselves donning the cranial name tags, their identities, printed neatly on cotton hats or scrawled with black permanent marker on paper caps.

Alison Brindle, a UK student midwife, gifted Dr Hackett’s intervention with the hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge. Surgical staff from , the UK, US, Europe and South America have used the hashtag to share images of their own name-caps.

There’s Beth, Nurse and Caroline, Ophthalmologist. There’s Alison, Student Midwife and Jo, Obstetrician.

When hospital staff are in full scrubs, their faces are almost completely obscured by their caps and face masks, with their eyes and eyebrows suspended between the two.

Clinicians can work with hundreds of different combinations of colleagues between multiple hospitals. The revolving door of partial faces can make recognising your fellow staff member instantly, in time-critical moments, challenging.

In the midst of a medical emergency, precious seconds, even minutes can be lost when clinicians can’t remember the names of their colleagues in the operating theatre, the campaign’s supporters say.

In a critical iteration of the bystander effect, Dr Hackett said 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 theatre staff told Dr Hackett of incidents where medical students had been mistaken for surgery registrars and asked to complete procedures.

“When you work across four or five hospitals and with hundreds of people, I’d say 75 per cent 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.” Great to see more staff taking up the #TheatreCapChallenge to help improve #patientsafetyhttps://t成都夜生活/2zK1UnBPc9pic.twitter老域名出售/kc2hB6Xl4X??? Shlomo (@Flat_corp) December 11, 2017If we want #patientsafety to improve we will need to support the introduction of #humanfactors solutionsShow your support #TheatreCapChallengehttps://t成都夜生活/EQ2oZwPAnHpic.twitter老域名出售/64LnhPIcDM??? Rob Hackett (@patientsafe3) December 10, 2017

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