Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Deborah Schuhmacher, DNP, RN

Second Advisor

Katherine Baumgartner, DNP, RN


The perioperative care setting can be a hazardous environment for patients undergoing surgery. Surgical teams caring for patients undergoing complex surgical procedures may create an opportunity for surgical errors impacting patient safety. The purpose of this project is to improve consistent standardized Surgical Safety Checklist (SSC) use and briefings in the orthopedic perioperative care setting in a large Midwestern hospital, thereby supporting a culture of safety through staff engagement and a team-based communication approach. Watson’s Theory of Human Caring guided this project through the theoretical concepts of presence and faith. An initial implementation of the SSC and briefings revealed a decrease in compliance, teamwork, and communication and staff engagement. Introduction of a team training program, Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety TeamSTEPPS® provided improved communication and enabled more efficient surgical teams, thus improving the compliance of both the SSC and briefings. Further evaluation of compliance and development of a model of care translated the technical and safety processes involved in the operating room into an enhanced patient experience. Conclusions derived from this project suggest that SSCs and briefings provide the standard of care to foster patient safety, teamwork, and communication to aid in the prevention of surgical errors.


SC 11.MAN.2015.Schacht.LR