Workload of Team Leaders and Team Members During a Simulated Sepsis Scenario

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Crisis resource management principles dictate appropriate distribution of mental and/or physical workload so as not to overwhelm any one team member. Workload during pediatric emergencies is not well studied. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index is a multidimensional tool designed to assess workload validated in multiple settings. Low workload is defined as less than 40, moderate 40–60, and greater than 60 signify high workloads. Our hypothesis is that workload among both team leaders and team members is moderate to high during a simulated pediatric sepsis scenario and that team leaders would have a higher workload than team members.


Multicenter observational study.


Nine pediatric simulation centers (five United States, three Canada, and one United Kingdom).


Team leaders and team members during a 12-minute pediatric sepsis scenario.


National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index.

Measurements and Main Results:

One hundred twenty-seven teams were recruited from nine sites. One hundred twenty-seven team leaders and 253 team members completed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration-Task Load Index. Team leader had significantly higher overall workload than team member (51 ± 11 vs 44 ± 13; p < 0.01). Team leader had higher workloads in all subcategories except in performance where the values were equal and in physical demand where team members were higher than team leaders (29 ± 22 vs 18 ± 16; p < 0.01). The highest category for each group was mental 73 ± 13 for team leader and 60 ± 20 for team member. For team leader, two categories, mental (73 ± 17) and effort (66 ± 16), were high workload, most domains for team member were moderate workload levels.


Team leader and team member are under moderate workloads during a pediatric sepsis scenario with team leader under high workloads (> 60) in the mental demand and effort subscales. Team leader average significantly higher workloads. Consideration of decreasing team leader responsibilities may improve team workload distribution.

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