Professor Jennifer Weller

Session | Culture
NetworkZ - supporting a culture of teamwork in the operating theatre

NZSA speaker Weller bio

Professor Jennifer Weller is Head of the Centre for Medical and Health Sciences Education at the University of Auckland, and a specialist anaesthetist at Auckland City Hospital. Her main research interests are teamwork and patient safety, simulation-based education, and workplace-based assessment. Professor Weller leads a national, government-funded program aimed at establishing simulation-based training in teamwork in New Zealand operating theatres.

NetworkZ - supporting a culture of teamwork in operating theatres

NetworkZ is a multi-disciplinary simulation based team-training programme for surgical and emergency department teams across all New Zealand public hospitals. With funding from the ACC Treatment Injury Prevention Unit, the ultimate goal is better outcomes in acute care.

Over the last 5 years, we have built capacity for simulation-based training of hospital staff all around New Zealand. Through ACC funding, we have provided DHBs with Laerdal 3G full -simulators, integrated surgical models, detailed scenarios, workshop materials, instructor and simulation-technician training, and a supportive programme of staged implementation.

NetworkZ supports a shift in surgical culture from individualistic to team orientation, from a traditional, steeply hierarchical model of leadership towards more inclusive leadership, from tribalism to mutual trust and respect. We support an environment where speaking up is no longer an act of courage, but a normal and expected component of shared decision-making and team resilience.

The five-year NetworkZ intervention is wrapped around with a multi-faceted evaluation plan, including course reports, interviews, surveys, in theatre observations, ACC treatment injury claims analysis and analysis of patient outcome data – Days Alive and Out of Hospital at 90 days, using the national administrative data set.

The ACC contract for NetworkZ is nearing completion, and with that, the generous ACC funding. In this presentation, I will reflect on achievements of the programme, present results of an interim analysis, and consider requirements for sustainability of NetworkZ into the future.