Process Communication Model: Surgeons trying to communicate better?! | Resus Room Management

Process Communication Model: Surgeons trying to communicate better?!

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, via their Professional Development area are running a course that can only benefit, well, all of us!  The Process Communication Model course involves reflecting on one’s own communication style, analysing your colleagues as well as your own communication styles under stress, and aims provide attendees with skills to better manage conflict.

“About time!” I hear you say.  Surgeons have long been ridiculed for their poor communication, and we have all been in trauma resuscitations, in theatre , in a cubicle with a patient or on the end of the phone with a surgeon who has communicated poorly, which invariably leads to heightened levels of distress for those on the receiving end.

Without knowing the full details of the course (or the company that runs it), I would still suggest that any effort to raise situational awareness, and awareness of others’ needs, to better manage conflict and improve communication should be applauded.

It still bothers me that as a profession we are still operating in “silos”, where different specialties take up different causes (or courses) in the name of improving non-technical skills, (eg ACME, CCrISP, PCM, ATTT, EMAC),when in fact we could all benefit from one unified process and language.  Should RRM fulfil this role? Are we doomed to fail by approaching stressful medical situations with different perspectives, different priorities, and different training? Or is something better than nothing?

I don’t think there’s any evidence that medical short courses of any kind improve anything, but at least the surgeons have recognised that communication is a problem, and are making a serious, concerted effort to address it.

Here’s one surgeons appraisal of the course. For him it was life-changing.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

2 Responses to Process Communication Model: Surgeons trying to communicate better?!

  1. Nicholas Chrimes (@nicholaschrimes) March 9, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I did the PCM course a couple of years ago. The underlying principle is interesting and potentially useful but it is probably too complex to implement in “real time”. I think it also requires you to know the other person quite well, so not necessarily useful for diffusing the occasional tense professional encounter. Perhaps it’s better for dealing with long term colleagues or family.

    Additionally, all the participants at the course I attended found the mode of delivery very frustrating (the instructor refused to move faster when we’d already “got it” and was unable to answer more in depth questions we had). By the middle of the second day the whole group was really angry. It significantly undermines the utility of the model when the instructor can’t use his own techniques to deal with the clear personality types in the room (including myself!!). He seemed to be an expert in the theory rather than practice. By the end of day 2 I’d had enough and didn’t go back. Several other participants were very unhappy also.

    There was also very little supervised time practising the techniques as there was only one instructor for about 15 people. All a bit below par for a pretty expensive course. Having said that I know plenty of other people who’ve attended outside that particular session and loved it (but have agreed it’s better for people you know well – many have commented to me that its helped their relationships with family members).

  2. Nicholas Chrimes (@nicholaschrimes) March 9, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    In relation to silos and courses – that was why Pete Fritz & I devised TRAC (Team Response to Airway Crises). This airway course run by Monash Simulation takes doctors/nurses/paramedical staff from retrieval/ICU/ED/anaesthetic backgrounds and trains them in both technical & non-technical skills relating to airway management to improve both the approach to difficult airway and the interactions between disciplines that occur surrounding an airway crisis. I believe it’s relatively unique in unified approach across critical care disciplines. (For the record I have no financial interest in this course).

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