Situation awareness (SA) is one of the essential non-technical skills for effective and safe practice in high-risk industries, such as healthcare; yet, there is limited research of its significance in anaesthetic practice. In this paper, we review this scant research that focuses on SA as patient monitoring alone and advocate for a more comprehensive view of SA in anaesthetic practice and training that extends beyond monitoring, namely, a distributed cognition approach. We identify further factors influencing anaesthetists' SA and provide a case that resulted in an anaesthetic fatality to illustrate the application of an alternative view of SA in anaesthesia. Distributed SA in anaesthetic practice provides the foundation for further research that may in turn influence the teaching and assessment of this important non-technical skill.
- monitoring, intraoperative
- risk management
- safety management
- task performance and analysis