Identifying key nursing and team behaviours to achieve high reliability

Kristi Miller, William Riley, Stanley Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Aim The aim of the present study was to measure markers of key nursing behaviours in interdisciplinary teams during critical events to assess the extent of high reliability. Background Technical and team competence are necessary to achieve high reliability to ensure safe patient care. Technical competence is generally assured because of professional training, licensure and practice standards. During critical events, team competence is difficult to observe, measure and evaluate in interdisciplinary teams. Method During critical events, in situ simulation was the method used to observe interdisciplinary interaction of nursing behaviours regarding communication. Seventeen trials were conducted and videotaped for evaluation at four hospital sites. Results Key nursing behavioural markers for interdisciplinary interaction were described: situational awareness, use of situation, background, assessment, recommendation-response (SBAR-R), closed-loop communication and shared mental model. Conclusion Skills necessary for nurses to contribute to highly reliable, interdisciplinary teams are not consistently observed during critical events and constitute breaches in defensive barriers for ensuring patient safety. Implications for nursing management Nurses have a key role in assuring effective team performance through the transfer of critical information. Nurses need to recognize and identify important clinical and environmental cues, and act in order to ensure that the team progresses along the optimal course for patient safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-255
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • In situsimulation
  • Interdisciplinary interaction
  • Nursing
  • Teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Identifying key nursing and team behaviours to achieve high reliability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this