McBride KE, Steffens D, Duncan K, Bannon PG, Solomon MJ

PLoS ONE 2019;14(3):e0213840

PMID: 30870503


BACKGROUND: The use of robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) is becoming increasingly prevalent across a range of surgical specialties within public hospitals around Australia. As a result, it is critical that organisations consider workplace factors such as staff knowledge, attitudes and behaviours prior to the implementation of such new technology. This study aimed to describe the knowledge and attitudes of operating theatre staff from a large public tertiary referral hospital prior to the commencement of an RAS program.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of nursing, medical and support staff working in the operating theatre complex of a large public tertiary referral hospital was completed over a one-week period in June 2016. A 23-item questionnaire was utilised for data collection.

RESULTS: 164 (66%) theatre staff returned the surveys and were included in this study. The majority of medical staff reported being knowledgeable about RAS, whilst the majority of nursing and support staff did not. Overall the theatre staff were neutral about the potential benefits of RAS to patients. The majority of medical staff believed the implementation of RAS will increase the value of staff roles and job satisfaction, while nursing and support staff were uncertain about these benefits. All three staff groups were concerned about the impact of an RAS program on Workplace Health and Safety, and care and handling.

CONCLUSION: Operating theatre staff presented different knowledge and attitudes prior to the introduction of RAS. Whilst theatre staff were more favourable towards RAS than negative, they largely reserved their judgement about the new system prior to their own experiences. Collectively, these findings should be taken into consideration for training and support strategies prior to the implementation of a RAS program.