Author: Charlotte Davies / Codes: SLO11, SLO12, SLO2, SLO8, SLO9Published: 07/07/2019


The content you’re about to read or listen to is at least two years old, which means evidence and guidelines may have changed since it was originally published. This content item won’t be edited but there will be a newer version published if warranted. Check the new publications and curriculum map for updates

The Apple iBook can be found here

Download  the PDF version.

Human factors is a hot topic. We’ve got *loads* of resources on this, so we thought we’d put some together in an iBook! To supplement your RCEM learning, look at the #humanfactors hashtag on twitter and all the links signposted to in the book. Its easiest to access all of this from the iBook, but if you’d rather have a look at the blogs in their original form, we’ve linked to them here. 

You all know what human factors are. If you’re not sure, complete this e-learning module and watch this video to remind yourself. Then complete this testing module. Here’s the original Elaine Bromiley video.

And here’s the new video. If you’ve seen the Elaine Bromiley video too many times already, here’s an alternative. There’s also a basic introduction online course available free, and if you fancy paying, you can even get a certificate for completion!

Now you’ve reminded yourself of human factors, watch this video of a real mistake, and identify the human factors and non technical skills that you can see. You may find it helpful to use the table below to guide your watching.

Wellbeing and fatigue management are all part of human factors. We haven’t included our wellbeing topics here as there’s too much to cover if we include everything! It’s wonderfully covered in the college RCEM wellbeing book already, and all of the RCEMLearning wellbeing resources are available here. We also haven’t written anything on effective teams, followership or leadership – maybe you could fill that gap for us?

Design is also a part of human factors. We’ve all seen the “intended path” vs the “actual path” in the park – and medicine is no different. If a short cut can be taken, it will be. The CHFG has resources that are well worth a listen. How often do you use a sign like in the picture then wonder why no-one noticed the sign?

This collection of human factors resources has been highlighted by the RCEMLearning blogs team, and painstakingly put into blog format by our amazing  creative director Nigel @strata5. As well as clinical  education, the RCEMLearning team are passionate about non clinical education, and hope you enjoy this collection.

If you’d prefer to read the blogs in blog format rather than iBook format, here are our links.

Situational Awareness blog.
Being a good registrar blog.
If this blog has been interesting, you might like to listen to this short podcast on ED prioritisation. This blog guide to your first Consultant job looks at situational awareness beyond the department!

Normalisation of Deviance
How we make decisions
Decision making in children
If you loved these blogs, have a listen to our “making good judgements” segment here and here about decision rules vs gestalt. Then listen to how these decisions change in children, and in the hallway.

Making a good referral
Challenge and threat mindset 
If you’re wondering why we think making referrals is part of a communication and handover section, it’s mostly because the principles of handover and referrals are similar. Listen to the next handover you get given – and then imagine being a receiving specialty doctor, listening to 30 handovers like that a day! And then, you can listen to these great podcasts about handover, the power of words, and the power of apology.
Our nocebo overview is a great listen, and our words matters blog has a similar subject. We also have some specific resources on apologising, and handover. And of course, rudeness is not to be tolerated.

Part of communication is “sharing your mental model” and talking out loud so people understand how you reached your conclusion. The need for this is exemplified in this short video. The IM reasoning podcast tries to explore how we think in nice bitesized segments. It’s also using closed loop communication – to make sure what was said was heard.

Read our stress blog here.
We thought acute stress was more of a human factor than a wellbeing factor, so included it in this iBook. Were we right? Have a listen to how deliberate practice can help – part one and two. For a great overview of some other stressful environments, visit risky business.

Checklists are appearing everywhere! We’d like to think our checklist on emergency c-section is great, but for other good examples look at some of the prompt cards from Brighton or Resus Me.

To learn more about checklists, read The Checklist Manifesto or just read the book review or synopsis. Needless to say, not everyone thinks the checklist is awesome. We’ll keep using them for now – especially for intubation.

Leadership snippets and ideas
Leadership and trust 
Leadership podcast

With the introduction of leadership specific training, we hope to have more leadership resources. Your local leadership group will be able to tell you more what resources are good. Whilst you’re waiting, check out St Emlyns, the London Leadership Academy, NHS Leadership Academy and the Faculty of Medical Leadership. We’ve got an interesting podcast on being “the fat controller”, nicely supplemented by an EMJ article. Our time management and email management blogs will also have some relevant tips.