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Instructions for Observers

  • Use the behaviour descriptors to examine how 'situational awareness' is established and maintained in the team. You can observe an individual (e.g. a leader) or the collective behaviors of team members.

What is Situational Awareness?

  • Situational Awareness refers to how individuals AND teams work to develop and maintain an overall awareness of the work setting. This is based on observing all areas of the clinical work environment (patient, team, team dynamics, equipment, time,) and monitoring how information is gathered and shared.

    The Observer checklist has 3 sections*
    1. Information Gathering
    2. Recognizing and Understanding
    3. Anticipating

  • * Check List is adapted and modified from ANTS (see link)

Information Gathering

  • Team members gather and share information systematically - e.g. from patient notes, colleagues, investigations, monitors.

  • Team members cross check information to increase reliability - e.g. using 'close loop' communication

  • Team members conduct frequent scans of the environment

Recognising and Understanding

  • Team leader synthesises cues and vocalises their meaning to other team members<br><br>

  • Team Increases and coordinates levels of monitoring in response to patient condition

  • Team members inform others of the status - e.g. seriousness - of the patient's situation and are assertive if they have safety concerns


  • Team members think ahead of the situation by discussing contingency plans (e.g. to answer 'WHAT if ? ' questions regarding current situation)

  • Team members review the effects of intervention (s)

  • Threshold interventions are set and communicated by team members

  • Team takes coordinated action to avoid or mitigate problems

Overall Team Performance

  • How likely is it that ALL team members have shared understand about 1. WHAT had happened to the patient 2. WHAT was happening to the patient? 3. WHAT might happen to the patient?

  • What is your global rating of the team's collective contributions to situational awareness?

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