The rapid uptake of robotic
surgery has largely been driven by the improved technical aspects of minimally invasive surgery including improved ergonomics, wristed instruments, and 3-dimensional vision. However, little attention has been given to the effect of physical separation
of the surgeon
from the rest of the operating team
The aim of this study was to examine in depth how this separation
dynamics and staff emotions.
procedures were observed in 2 tertiary hospitals, and laparoscopic/open procedures were added for comparison; field notes were taken instantaneously. One-to-one interviews with theater team
members were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative analysis was conducted via grounded theory approach using NVIVO11.
Twenty-nine participants (26 interviewed) were recruited to the study (11 females) and 134 (109 robotic
) hours of observation were completed across gynecology, urology, and colorectal surgery.
The following 3 main themes emerged with compounding factors identified: (a) communication challenge, (b) immersion versus distraction, and (c) emotional impact. Compounding factors included the following: individual and team experience, staffing levels, and the physical theater environment.
Our emergent theory is that “surgeon
theaters poses communication challenges which impacts on situational awareness and staff emotions.” These can be ameliorated by staff training, increased experience, and team