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Welcome to the second instalment in our series of three short articles on the NHS. As a medical distributor, we’re in the privileged position of working alongside the people who make it happen. Here’s a further take on why it works so well – teamwork and The Art of Theatre…

Teamwork. It’s essential to the way in which the NHS continually delivers outstanding care – despite the well-publicised pressures it faces year on year.

And nowhere is the art of teamwork more exemplified than in a hospital’s inner sanctum: the operating theatre.

There’s no doubt that some wonderful things take place there and yet, for those surgeons, anaesthetists, scrub nurses, ODAs and other colleagues who work there, it’s a setting that has simply become part of their normal, daily routine. But it’s a routine that demands the highest of standards, and is dependent upon everyone working together.

Many a time, Joint Operations is in the privileged position of being in theatre supporting cases with our products. To the untrained eye, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a simple and sparse environment. However, that would be doing it a huge disservice…

Even before the lights go on, it’s the preparation, planning and protocols behind the scenes that allow complex and synchronised teamwork to happen – almost effortlessly.

theatre

Where else would you find decades of finely-honed procedures and rituals that have stood the test of time? From getting scrubbed, to putting on a gown and getting gloved up… (In fact, gowning up and the intricate footwork and twirling that it sometimes involves would not go amiss on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.)

…From the systematic laying out of the scrub tray so that everything’s close to hand and exactly where it should be… to the double-failsafe checks of identifying the patient and echoing confirmation of biographical details such as name and date of birth, then procedure and its site – even to the point of specifying left from right. Simple perhaps, but necessary.

…From counting swabs in and out so that everything tallies with the checklists, to even ensuring that the right music is being played (we’ve encountered everything from ‘Die Fledermaus’ to ‘Take That’)…

And let’s not forget the valuable role that the unassuming hospital porter plays: if they’re unable to get the patient to theatre on time, then what you’re left with is a team of highly skilled people waiting around, unable to do what they do best.

Add into the mix a different team altogether, such as another specialty or a healthcare company (such as Joint Operations – did you see what we did with the name?), and still you’ll find a seamless and coordinated operation.

Because of all the activity and the nature of what takes place in the operating theatre, the system needs to be a well-oiled machine with no margin for error. That’s when teamwork and its collective effort really comes to the fore.

 

Read article one in our NHS series here