Sarah Henrickson Parker, a research assistant professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, contributed a chapter to the British Medical Association award-winning book, “Enhancing Surgical Performance: A Primer in Non-technical Skills.”

The book was awarded the British Medical Association Council Chair’s Choice – chosen by Mark Porter, a consultant anesthetist and chairman of the British Medical Association – on Sept. 7.

“Enhancing Surgical Performance: A Primer in Non-technical Skills” serves as an accessible handbook of the Non-Technical Skills for Surgeons system. It focuses on the non-technical skills of decision-making, communication, teamwork, and situation awareness in the operating theater. The book provides a guide for surgeons, identifying why these skills are essential for safe and effective performance in operating rooms.

“The importance of leadership in patient care is acknowledged, but there is scant rigorous scientific investigation,” said Parker. “What does optimal leadership look like in this high risk setting? Contributing to this project allowed us the opportunity to provide insight into behaviors and skills that are useful for surgeons as this field of research continues to grow and evolve.”

The chapter co-authored by Parker focuses on leadership in the high-risk setting of health care – focusing on behaviors in the operating room that reflect excellent leadership and team performance. It describes preoperative briefing as a leadership tool, as well as the task-focused and team-focused behaviors of leadership. The chapter also explains the importance of distributing leadership within a team setting while supporting flexibility and open communication among team members.

At the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, Parker studies clinical team performance during direct patient care and through simulations to better understand patterns of performance that are emblematic of exceptional patient care. The goal is to integrate education, research, and front line staff to improve care for patients.

Enhancing Surgical Performance: A Primer in Non-technical Skills” was published by CRC Press. The book was edited by Rhona Flin, emeritus professor of psychology at University of Aberdeen, George G. Youngson, emeritus professor of pediatric surgery at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital and University of Aberdeen, and Steven Yule, assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.