Critical CareEmergency MedicineHealthcare CommunicationSMACCHigh Performance Teams in Critical Care

High Performance Teams in Critical Care

Chris Hicks delves in to how to optimise performance in a team environment in emergency medicine and critical care.

When teams fail and fall apart, we are quick to analyse the performance. We pick it apart and see what went wrong, and why.

Chris suggests that we should do the same thing for over-performing teams. We should analyse how and why they perform at optimum levels.

In doing this, in reaching a higher understanding of elite performance, we can harness the techniques used, simulate and train them, and thus improve performance across the board. This is not a new concept.

High performance in elite sport is driven by athletes searching to push themselves in new and more extreme ways during training. They do this so when they are faced with stressful situations in competition, they have seen it all before.

High performers talk about being ‘in the zone’.

This is a state of body and mind where optimum performance comes naturally and easily.

Research suggests that when an individual is ‘in the zone’, areas of the brain go quiet. Your ego and your inner critic dampen down. Other more useful and helpful areas light up. These tend to be deeper areas and are related to information processing and linkage between ideas.

They often are drawing on prior experiences. These are less conscious processes. Chris contends that conscious thought is expensive and time consuming and by tapping into this ‘flow’ state, you optimise performance. Chris then discusses how to utilise this research and methods used in other industries.

He brings the lessons that are apparent from outside sources and describes how these can be implemented in medical training and simulation. He describes a method to play with perceptions. Rather than seeing situations as threatening, Chris highlights the benefits of embracing them as challenging – an opportunity to demonstrate elite performance.

Further, he discusses a three-step process to practically implement the lessons he is talking about. So to improve performance whilst working in teams in emergency and critical care medicine, listen in to Chris Hicks discuss all things high performance.

High Performance Teams in Critical Care

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Nikki Blackwell

Chris Hicks

Christopher Hicks is an emergency physician and trauma team leader at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and Assistant Professor and Clinician-Educator in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto.  He is an education research scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge institute, and appointee to the International Centre for Surgical Safety, with a program of research that focuses on simulation-based psychological skills training, human factors and clinical logistics.  He has innovated in several areas of resuscitation and psychological skills, including mental practice, stress inoculation training and the trauma black box program.  In 2018, Chris co-created and chaired resusTO, an inter-professional simulation-based resuscitation conference in Toronto with international acclaim.  In 2020, he co-founded Advanced Performance Healthcare Design, consulting with hospitals and industry using simulation to inform the design of systems, spaces and teams.  Chris is an avid speaker and lecturer, staunch #FOAMed supporter, occasional runner and cyclist, fledgling boxer, semi-retired pianist, and proud father of three lunatic boys.