Once again we've heard comments that aviation and healthcare are radically different, the point being of course, that healthcare can't possibly transfer learning from an industry such as aviation. Well of course our industries are different, but it's not as simple as some people think.
We've heard this so many times.
"Pilots would not get airborne with a plane that wasn't working properly, where as Doctors and Nurses are dealing with people who've had something go wrong"
This misses the point.
Most people don't realise that if something goes wrong in an airplane, rarely do you see it coming and the chances are we're already airborne.
Aviation in the 21st century is incredibly safe, so much so that there is talk of a zero fatality year worldwide due to accidents, leaving aside deliberate acts.
Extrapolating this it suggests that aviation is, as is often claimed, 99% boredom 1% sheer terror. Not strictly accurate, but mostly things do not go wrong, but what flight crew have to maintain is a wary eye for potential problems.If they occur…
The enemy here is complacency.
Flight crew, like healthcare teams, have to be like the proverbial coiled spring, ready to react, safely and sensibly in times of extreme stress and with limited options.
In a nutshell, where learning from aviation can be beneficial and transferrable to healthcare is via our techniques and methods for understanding human behaviour. Being able to be proactive rather reactive, be situationally aware as well as self-aware, understand how to communicate effectively to avoid misunderstanding.
These skills when mastered, can create leaders and teams who can make better judgement calls, minimise risk and maximise safety. Knowing what we do about the effects of the amygdala and fight, flight and freeze, it is the ability to control your actions under extreme stress that we have to practice.
Preparedness is crucial.
Flight crew are trained to consider what could realistically ruin their, and you the passengers, day. One of the aviation techniques is to use periods of low activity, not to simply chat and pass the time of day, but to discuss with your colleagues and your team what they might consider to be a potential problem. When flying how would we handle a depressurisation or a hydraulic system failure. In healthcare something akin to a cardiac arrest or pranging a major blood vessel, or an unanticipated allergic reaction for instance.
Alternatively a challenging aspect could be when you know you're going to be working with a difficult colleague, so you could discuss in advance how you will try to change the trajectory of incivility into a harmonious team outcome.
Atrainability are able to provide tailored Human Factors support for teams that are in need of advice, support or development.