Eight techniques to support high-quality perioperative communication: Reflections on the NASSF WA Survey

Stewart Flemming, Joseph Carpini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is widely accepted that communication is critical in the perioperative context as it has important implications for both patients and clinical
staff. In this article, we report the findings of a survey of Nurses Association of Short Stay Facilities Western Australia (NASSF WA) members to
identify common barriers to effective communication as well as to identify techniques that may contribute to raising the bar on communication.
Results of the survey point to perceived power differences, hierarchical work structures, multiple steps in communication chains, and a general
reluctance to speak up as primary barriers to effective communication. We also identify eight potentially under-utilised techniques designed
to bolster communication. First we identify three techniques designed to enhance communication through structure – ISOBAR, huddles or
briefings, and stand back. We then highlight two techniques that ensure the message is understood – closed loop communication and readback. Finally, we identify three techniques to support communication transmission – using graded assertiveness techniques, for example the
PACE/CUSS models, having a designated conduit, and using an individual’s name. Each technique is discussed in turn and we conclude with
some practical advice on ways in which these techniques can be introduced and practised, with the view of making high-quality communication
a norm in daily clinical practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
JournalDay Surgery Australia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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