Thoughts on the #theatrecapchallenge
The #theatrecapchallenge is a movement to encourage everyone to have their name and role on their theatre caps. It is a campaign from frontline staff and an example of how change can come from the bottom up, rather than management. In the age of social media it’s easier for colleagues to communicate across disciplines and regions and share what they know.
Power of the hashtag
Midwife Alison Brindle knows the ‘power of the hashtag’, as she was the person who came up with #theatrecapchallenge. She has written a great article about how it came about and the impact of social media. It’s a great read and comes from a personal as well as professional perspective.
Change is hard
It can be hard being in the vanguard, resistance to change is a common human issue, especially in large bureaucracies like hospitals. There will always be detractors to any new idea, but we will continue to promote having a name and role on theatre caps, as there are so many benefits from such a small change.
Dr Andrew Hughes wrote a great article about his experience with changing to a named theatre cap. He addresses many of the issues raised when people question the change in a thoughtful way. Another great read.
The obvious benefit in being easily identified is patient safety. In emergency situations knowing who everyone is can save precious time and reduce error. Communication failure can lead to errors even in more everyday situations and is a major factor in adverse events. Anything that can reduce this can only be a good thing.
There are less obvious benefits. Having a name and role displayed makes people more likely to speak up when they have concerns and can have a hierarchy flattening effect. It helps ease tension and circumvent the awkwardness of forgetting someones name during introductions. For patients it can clarify who exactly is involved in their care and where to direct their questions and enhance the human connection when they’re at their most vulnerable.
There are many compelling reasons to make the change. But as Clinical Lecturer Janine Kane said ‘it builds rapport and makes us more approachable’ so why not?