Situational Awareness

What is Situational awareness?


  • Develop a better understanding of Situational Awareness and how to assess performance through debriefing.

  • Analyse your own Situational Awareness practice and evaluate other's practice.

Estimated time to complete: 40 minutes

Throughout these bite-sized lessons we cannot hope to cover all of the content needed in the depth desired by all readers. The intention is to cover some core principles and flag key papers which can be used as springboards for your personal development.

Next steps:

  • Check out our Sim-Cards: One-page reviews for a printable infographic on Situational Awareness.

  • See our Scenarios for teaching materials specifically focused on promoting a learner's Situational Awareness.

  • Access the Professional Development page for worksheets aimed to support reflection on Situational Awareness.

Well, that depends on who you ask and the context which you're looking at it from.

Key points to look for when debriefing include:

  • Did anything happen, or was anything said, which was not relayed to key participants / the leader / the patient, which impacted on how the scenario played out?

  • What things can impact on someone's situational awareness? Consider the impact other non-technical skills have.

further learning

A primary review of situational awareness training for medical students is available here.

A formal model of how situational awareness exists and impacts/is impacted on by other non-technical skills and is available in this paper.

Situational awareness is not the sole responsibility of the team leader but the whole team and rigorous research is required into team training as demonstrated by this paper.

An interesting presentation by the Canadian Medical Protection Agency, hosted via the Patient Safety Institute, is available here.

A thoughtfully designed article covering situational awareness in healthcare is available here.

A good summary of Situational Awareness is available through Healthy Simulation website.

One tool to assess in practice includes the "situational awareness global assessement tool" (SAGAT) and can be found here.

See one paper below and its connected articles for a wider review of the literature:

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