How can healthcare teams achieve that their members speak their mind? For example, if they have idea or notice a potential mistake? Speaking up – the expression of concerns, inquiry in doubt and suggestion of ideas for the further diagnosis and treatment – is one of our research foci. Speaking up is essential for safe patient care, but interpersonal and organisational barriers stand in its way.

We are interested in :

1.    What is the relationship between speaking up and patient care? In a simulation-based study with inductions of anesthesia we demonstrated that speaking up of nurses improves team-performance (e.g. for the «perfect induction»). We could also demonstrate that, by speaking up, adapted approaches could be initiated (e.g. by issuing instructions) and the course of action could be clarified. There were indications that earlier speaking up (e.g. before intubation) facilitated later speaking-up.

2. How can teams make more Speaking Up possible? Our research has shown that particularly leaders can facilitate speaking up via their language. Also, regular debriefings can help team members to speak up

3. How can speaking up be trained? A study led by the Center for Medical Simulation let us to concluded that speaking up cannot easily be trained and provided valuable insights into barriers and facilitators.

4. What are team dynamics of speaking up? How important is respect? We are exploring these questions in a series of current studies.

Speaking-up projects

Speaking Up for patient safety: Investigating the social dynamics of voice behavior in healthcarePrinciple Investigator: PD Dr. Michaela Kolbe, Co-Investigators: Dr. Bastian Grande, Prof. Dr. Stefano Brusoni (ETHZ), Dr. Michael Burtscher (UZH) ​Ongoing
​Combined technical and non-technical skills training for managing unanticipated difficult intubations​Principle Investigator: Prof Dr. Gudela Grote (ETH Zürich), Co-Investigator: Prof. Dr. Donat R. Spahn; Employees: Dr. Bastian Grande, Dr. Michaela Kolbe, Mona Weiss, Carl Schick.
​Adaptive coordination in anaesthesia teams and its relationship to clinical performance
Principle Investigator: Prof Dr. Gudela Grote (ETH Zürich), Co-Investigator: Dr. Tanja Manser; Prof. Dr. Donat R. Spahn; Employees: Dr. Michaela Kolbe, Dr. Michael Burtscher.


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