The medical pause: Importance, processes and training

Joy Yeonjoo Lee*, Adam Szulewski, John Q. Young, Jeroen Donkers, H.M. Jarodzka, J.J.G. van Merrienboer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Research has shown that taking 'timeouts' in medical practice improves performance and patient safety. However, the benefits of taking timeouts, or pausing, are not sufficiently acknowledged in workplaces and training programmes. To promote this acknowledgement, we suggest a systematic conceptualisation of the medical pause, focusing on its importance, processes and implementation in training programmes. By employing insights from educational and cognitive psychology, we first identified pausing as an important skill to interrupt negative momentum and bolster learning. Subsequently, we categorised constituent cognitive processes for pausing skills into two phases: the decision-making phase (determining when and how to take pauses) and the executive phase (applying relaxation or reflection during pauses). We present a model that describes how relaxation and reflection during pauses can optimise cognitive load in performance. Several strategies to implement pause training in medical curricula are proposed: intertwining pause training with training of primary skills, providing second-order scaffolding through shared control and employing auxiliary tools such as computer-based simulations with a pause function.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1152-1160
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Education
Volume55
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • pause
  • timeout
  • medical education
  • cognitive load
  • PERFORMANCE
  • KNOWLEDGE
  • SLOWING-DOWN
  • TIME
  • CARE
  • ACCURACY
  • REFLECTION
  • SURGICAL SAFETY CHECKLIST
  • COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY
  • TOOL

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