Checklists: Human Factors in Healthcare

For educators creating clinical resources such as guidelines or policies it can be a very difficult process keeping a balance between learning, adherence, content overload prevention, safety aspects, evidence based practice content, numerous hand hygiene reminders and incorporating interdisciplinary input into the document. What may have intended to be a practical ‘how to guide’ is suddenly a 50 page document that serves more as a legal document than a clinician friendly resource.

Take a look at the below resources to help provide further insight into the human factors aspect of healthcare. Even by simply adding key clinical safety steps at the start of a guideline or policy can aid safety approach in the busy clinical environment.

As part of cognitive overload, take a look at the list of all your units guidelines, then any relevant hospital guidelines. Open a few up and see how long they are. Then take a perspective of a new nurse commencing in your place of work and how much information overload there is to deliver ‘safe’ care. It may be necessary not to focus on content education but training new nurses where to find the policies and guidelines and to have a time out process in place for clinical procedures.


Clinical Human Factors Group (CHFG)

Gawande, A. (2009). The checklist manifesto: How to get things right (1st ed.). New York, N.Y.: Metropolitan Books.

PHEMCAST. (2018). Checklists

Pronovost, P. (2013). Enhancing physicians’ use of clinical guidelinesJAMA,310(23), 2501-2.