Background: Non-technical errors, such as insufficient communication or leadership, are a major cause of medical failures during trauma resuscitation. Research on staffing variation among trauma teams on teamwork is still in their infancy. In this study, the extent of variation in trauma team staffing was assessed. Our hypothesis was that there would be a high variation in trauma team staffing.
Methods: Trauma team composition of consecutive resuscitations of injured patients were evaluated using videos. All trauma team members that where part of a trauma team during a trauma resuscitation were identified and classified during a one-week period. Other outcomes were number of unique team members, number of new team members following the previous resuscitation and new team members following the previous resuscitation in the same shift (Day, Evening, Night).
Results: All thirty-two analyzed resuscitations had a unique trauma team composition and 101 unique members were involved. A mean of 5.71 (SD 2.57) new members in teams of consecutive trauma resuscitations was found, which was two-third of the trauma team. Mean team members present during trauma resuscitation was 8.38 (SD 1.43). Most variation in staffing was among nurses (32 unique members), radiology technicians (22 unique members) and anesthetists (19 unique members). The least variation was among trauma surgeons (3 unique members) and ER physicians (3 unique members).
Conclusion: We found an extremely high variation in trauma team staffing during thirty-two consecutive resuscitations at our level one trauma center which is incorporated in an academic teaching hospital. Further research is required to explore and prevent potential negative effects of staffing variation in trauma teams on teamwork, processes and patient related outcomes.