Being a doctor is a tough job, but one that you train for years to take up as a career. Like with any job, if you came up with a way of making it easier, then you definitely would.
But anything that makes being a doctor easier is probably going to be good for their patients too, and is likely to save lives.
So one Australian doctor’s slightly ‘awkward’ decision to scrawl his name and role across his forehead is quickly changing safety in medicine across the world.
Dr Rob Hackett, a Sydney based anaesthetist, decided to write his name and his profession on the scrub cap that he wears at work every day to avoid mix-ups in the operating theatre.
“You look a little daft because not everyone is doing it,” Dr Hackett said about his idea when he first came up with it.
“There were some side remarks, like ‘can’t you remember your name?'” Dr Hackett said about his colleagues.
But it wasn’t about HIM remembering his own name: it was about THEM remembering it! They quickly realized that not only was it a good idea, but a revolutionary one
Now the quirky idea is changing operating theaters all over the world for some very simple but important reasons.
Six months since Dr Hackett first tried out his idea of writing on his forehead, thanks to an online trend the idea had been embraced by surgical staff internationally.
The doctor says that the idea, however small, reduced the chance of delays and miscommunication between colleagues wearing surgical scrubs in the operating room.
Even though it was awkward at first, the name tags actually prevent embarrassing situations.
“When you work across four or five hospitals and with hundreds of people, I’d say 75 per cent of staff I walk past I don’t know their name. It’s quite awkward,” Dr Hackett told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Last Friday I went to a cardiac arrest in a theatre where there were about 20 people in the room. I struggled to even ask to be passed some gloves because the person I was pointing to thought I was pointing to the person behind them.”
“It’s so much easier to coordinate when you know everyone’s names. It’s great for camaraderie and it’s great for patients as well.”
Most importantly, Dr Hackett says the name tags helped out in often-critical moments in the operating theater.
The anaesthetist said precious time has often been lost in his experience, when clinicians couldn’t remember the names of the other people around them in the operating room.
When hospital staff are in full scrubs, their faces are almost completely obscured by their caps and face masks, with just their eyes and eyebrows on show, so it’s hard to recognise people in the operating theater.
Some staff can work with a huge number of different colleagues between multiple hospitals, so recognising one of the hundreds of staff member instantly, in critical moments, can be challenging.
In the midst of a medical emergency, precious time can be lost when clinicians can’t remember the names of their colleagues in the operating theatre.
Dr Hackett said there have even been delays in performing chest compressions on patients in cardiac arrest because no one in the operating room knew who had been tasked with the job.
So seeing Dr Hackett’s idea on the other side of the world taking effect, UK student midwife Alison Brindle created the hashtag #TheatreCapChallenge
Surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses, midwives and other clinical specialists have taken up the challenge and using social media to share photos of with name tags, their identities, printed neatly on cotton hats or scrawled with black permanent marker on paper caps.
Since he started the movement, Dr Hackett said medical staff across the world had shared photos online showing their name and profession clearly on their foreheads.
All kinds of medical staff taking to social media to share photos of themselves using the name tags means it has now spread all over the world in a short time.
Surgical staff from across Australia, the UK, US, South America and Europe have all embraced the challenge.
— Teresa Kelly (@ztkelly) December 11, 2017
They’ve been using student midwife Alison’s hashtag to tweet their operating theater photos of staff with their names and roles scribbled across their head.
Now even the UK based Royal College of Surgeons has backed the idea, and have even said that the idea could combat people who did not have the look of a “traditional surgeon” being mistaken for other staff by their colleagues and patients.
— Shlomo (@Flat_corp) December 11, 2017
Different people in hospitals all over the world are taking up the challenge where they work.
— Alison Brindle (@AlisonBrindle) December 10, 2017
What do you think of such a simple idea changing how people work? It must be a good idea if it is saving lives, right? Let us know what you think, or if you work in a hospital whether your colleagues are taking up the challenge too, with a COMMENT! Feel free to SHARE this article with your friends and family too!