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Cognitive limitations and poor non-technical skills, both key elements within

Human Factors,

have been shown to cause the majority of errors in veterinary practice.*

The study of Human factors is an established discipline that utilises scientific knowledge about the human body, mind and behaviour to better understand our fundamental capabilities and limitations and ultimately to create the best possible fit between the people in our teams and the environment in which they work.

Factors such as stress and fatigue, barriers to communication and cognitive processing are examples of Human Factors that can prevent the knowledge, skills and good intentions of our veterinary teams from achieving their intended outcomes.

How can Human Factors training enhance the performance of veterinary teams to

improve patient care and safety?

Factors such as stress and fatigue, barriers to communication and cognitive processing are examples of Human Factors that can prevent the knowledge, skills and good intentions of our veterinary teams from achieving their intended outcomes.

Improving patient safety to ensure we are delivering the highest standards of patient care all starts with knowledge. Once we understand what mistakes are being made, and what factors are leaving people vulnerable to making them, steps can be taken to reduce the chances of, and mitigate the effects of, mistakes in practice.

We are only human after all.

Human Factors training is an opportunity to develop vital non-technical skills, to understand how to make positive systemic changes within your organisation and to address fundamental health and wellbeing needs which form the foundation for high performing teams. Taking this approach enables the reliable delivery of your team’s clinical or technical skills ensuring the best outcomes for your clients and patients.

Veterinary team members demonstrate high levels of skills and knowledge which are specific to their roles – both clinical and non-clinical. These job-specific (or technical skills) are essential, however as decades of research across many professions has shown, it is wrong to assume that possessing these skills alone will automatically lead to safe care for our patients.

In order for your Practice team to perform at their best and deliver excellent care for patients, clinical skills alone are not enough. To optimise care, clinical skills should be supplemented with non-technical Human Factors training.

Don't let your practice miss out on these vital veterinary skills. 

* We need to talk about error: causes and types of error in veterinary practice. Oxtoby C, et al. 2015. Veterinary Record.

Are you ready to start your Human Factors in Veterinary Practice journey?