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Improving human factors and situational awareness

Based on your feedback we have produced a practical ‘mini-toolkit’ to improve human factors and situational awareness. It also is designed to require no resource for maternity providers to implement.

It has been produced in collaboration with the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Atrainability (a human factors consulting firm). It consists of three elements, aimed at supporting implementation of the human factors recommendations about maintaining a helicopter view and situational awareness. This is a complex educational intervention that aims to change behaviours by reinforcing the video learning with simulation.

Watch the Human Factors and Situational Awareness video briefing

Learn about simulations you can do with your team

Introduction to Human Factors

People will always make mistakes. This can be referred to as human error, or the human factor. The goal of the study of human error is to attempt to prevent its occurrence or to mitigate its effects. Situational Awareness is a great place to start to learn about human factors and their role in helping to reduce errors. In the video you will find key information to help you to understand what Situational Awareness is, and how you can support this for you and your team. Use the links below to jump to sections of the video, and the resources to help you to understand in more detail if you choose.


Situational Awareness Key Recommendations

  • Staff undertaking a complex technical task should focus on it and delegate responsibility for looking at the overall picture to a colleague
  • A senior member of staff must maintain oversight of the activity on the delivery suite, especially when others are engaged in complex technical tasks.
  • All members of the clinical team working on the delivery suite need to understand the key principles of maintaining situational awareness to ensure the safe management of complex clinical situations.