Interruptions in Preanesthesia Nursing Workflow: A Pilot Study of Pediatric Patient Safety

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Preanesthesia care is a high-risk system where interruptions during the preanesthesia assessment may jeopardize the quality of information obtained. The objective of this study was to (1) identify the number and nature of interruptions occurring during the nursing preanesthesia assessment, (2) evaluate effectiveness of a no interruption zone (NIZ) on the number and nature of interruptions experienced, and (3) determine the frequency with which nurses returned to their original task after interruption.


A pre-post, quasi-experimental pilot study design was used.


Study included observational methodology to compare the number and nature of interruptions which occurred during the preanesthesia assessment before and after implementation of a NIZ.


There was a statistically significant decrease in interruptions per observation after implementation of a NIZ with physical and verbal interruptions being the most common. Nurses returned to the original task more often after the implementation of the NIZ.


Findings suggest use of a NIZ decreased interruptions experienced by nurses and thereby decreases the potential for workflow fragmentation.

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