Building Situation Awareness on the Move: Staff Monitoring Behavior in Clinic Corridors

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Abstract

We conducted a workplace research project on staff mobility in a Swiss hospital outpatient clinic that involved extensive fieldwork and video recordings. The article describes monitoring practices and routines that staff engage in as they walk through the corridors and in and out of the clinic’s rooms. The staff perform checks on on-going activity, share their observations with colleagues, and take responsive action while engaged in away-oriented walk or in specific roaming, action-seeking, rallying, and patrolling walk. We argue that these behaviors are closely associated with building and sustaining situation awareness (SA) with regard to the status of the clinic’s functioning. They contribute to the coordination of a spatially distributed team that rapidly accomplishes consequential and closely interrelated activities in constantly changing circumstances.

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