J Clin Anesth 2019 Apr 16;57:131-138. Epub 2019 Apr 16.
Department of Anesthesia, University of Iowa, United States of America.
Study Objective: Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) can evaluate anesthesiologists with whom they work clinically using a psychometrically reliable and valid scale. Use of such a scale to evaluate performance depends on knowing thresholds for minimum and ideal anesthesiologist performance.
Design: Cohort study.
Setting: One large teaching hospital.
Measurements: 379 CRNA evaluations of anesthesiologists' performance, and associated thresholds for minimum and ideal scores, performed over 15 weeks.
Main Results: The anesthesiologists' performance score was less than the CRNA's minimum score for the evaluation (i.e., too little anesthesiologist participation in patient care) for 25% (95) of the CRNA evaluations. The score was greater than the CRNA's ideal score for the evaluation (i.e., excessive participation in patient care) for 28% (106) of evaluations. Anesthesiologists' performance was assessed as not meeting expectations 53% of the time. Even if every anesthesiologist performed consistently at the same level, ≥50% of CRNAs would have been dissatisfied (187), not significantly different from observed (P = 0.34). Consistent results were found when the unit of analysis was individual CRNA. Among the 22 CRNAs who provided ≥10 evaluations, the median level of anesthesiologist performance was either less than the individual CRNA's mean minimum acceptable performance (8/22) or greater than their mean ideal performance (9/22), with overall dissatisfaction, 77%. Among the CRNA-anesthesiologist pairs working together, most did so less than once per month (76%, 1242/1635).
Conclusions: In this single-center study at a large teaching hospital, broad heterogeneity among CRNAs in their expectations for anesthesiologist collaborative practice was found. Anesthesiologists adjusting their behavior based on individual CRNA preferences was impractical because specific CRNA-anesthesiologist pairs work together infrequently. Future studies should examine consistency among organizations and whether changes in expectations, and perhaps less dissatisfaction, can be achieved by communication of results for CRNA preferences for anesthesiologists' participation in patient care and discussing shared expectations among the CRNAs and anesthesiologists.