Oral and Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Surgery


The importance of teams’ and individuals’ non-technical skills in reducing adverse events is well-recognised. We undertook a systematic review of the published literature to assess the research undertaken to date in assessing non-technical skills and behaviours within oral maxillofacial-head and neck (OMFS-H&N) surgery. The aim was to assess the applicability of published studies to current practice, how these studies could guide future research and to assess for areas where further development could be undertaken. The search terms included ‘non technical skills’, ‘nontechnical skills’, ‘NOTSS’, ‘non-technical skills for surgeons’, ‘oral surgery’, ‘oral maxillofacial surgery’, ‘OMFS’, ‘maxillofacial surgery’, ‘head and neck surgery’, ‘microsurgery’, ‘behavioural markers’, ‘behavioural assessment tool’, ‘behavioural ratings system’. Three publications were included in the review, involving 83 participants. Participants consistently achieved the highest scores in ‘situation awareness’ category whilst demonstrating a tendency to achieve their lower mean scores in the ‘communication and teamwork’ and ‘decision making’ categories. The majority of research into surgeons’ non-technical skills has occurred in simulated environments and not the genuine environments where actual surgery is being performed on patients. The research performed in the field of OMFS-H&N involving ‘real’ patients therefore places the specialty in a stronger position than many other surgical specialties.

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Kathy Andrews
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Journal of Oral Health and Dental Management
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