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Ideas That Work: Call Out Poor Positioning in Real Time
Publish Date: July 11, 2022   |  Tags:   Ideas That Work Staff Safety Workplace Culture
Awkward Position
HEADS UP To prevent ergonomic injuries, the entire OR staff at Duke Health is asked to alert each other about awkward positioning such as prolonged hunching.

Proper ergonomics in the OR is about much more than surgeon and staff comfort. It’s about preventing the types of strain-related injuries that lead to lost work time and poor surgical outcomes. That’s why it’s crucial to prevent problematic and awkward positioning before it becomes a chronic issue. Scott T. Hollenbeck, MD, a plastic surgeon at Duke Health in Durham, N.C., believes prevention should be a total team effort that starts from the top down. “It’s my job as a senior provider to look out for my staff and say, ‘Hey, you’re in a bad position. Let’s adjust the bed,’ or ‘Let’s move some equipment so that you’re more comfortable,’” says Dr. Hollenbeck. He also encourages his colleagues to be constantly aware of the positions they’re in to prevent bad habits from forming. All staff members are encouraged and expected to point out ergonomic issues as soon as they notice them — even if Dr. Hollenbeck is the one who is positioned awkwardly. It’s common for a member of the surgical team to grab a stool or to adjust the table mid-case if he or one of their colleagues is in an awkward and potentially dangerous position.