Soaring to Success

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Soaring to Success

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Soaring to Success
Taking Crew Resource Management from the Cockpit to the Nursing Unit

Gary L. Sculli, RN, MSN, ATP; David M. Sine, MA, ARM, CSP, CPHRM

Apply proven crew resource management principles to nursing care

“This book is awesome. It should be must reading for all nurse managers and healthcare leaders.”
- Theresa (Tess) M. Pape, PhD, RN, CNOR, Associate Professor of Nursing, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX.

Written by a former airline pilot turned nurse and a risk management expert, this practical resource offers solutions to managing longstanding challenges in patient care by applying the practices of crew resource management. This one-of-a-kind resource uses engaging case studies and real-life examples to provide a framework for improving communication and patient safety. This is the first book to apply the principles of crew resource management directly to nursing.

Foreword by Jim Bagian, MD, PE, former NASA astronaut, and world renowned expert in patient safety, He is a director of the Center for Health Engineering and Patient Safety and chief patient safety and systems innovation office at the University of Michigan. He is the founding director of the VA National Center for Patient Safety.


  • Apply innovative solutions to medication administration, report, patient handoff challenges, and interdisciplinary communication
  • Streamline patient care activities with crew resource management-based tools (e.g., checklists)
  • Become a better leader and develop improved communication through team building strategies
  • Empower staff to make the right decisions at the right time

This book will help you:

  • Describe the professional cultures of aviation and nursing
  • Identify the way nursing culture contributes to patient safety
  • Describe the origins of crew resource management
  • Discuss how the principles of crew resource management can be applied to nursing
  • Describe the influence of poor leadership on team effectiveness
  • Identify the characteristics of good leadership
  • Discuss strategies for improving teamwork
  • List leadership behaviors that encourage open communication
  • Identify how nurse leaders set the tone for a unit
  • Explain the principles of leadership briefings
  • Describe how nursing unit briefings improve teamwork
  • Identify how “hint and hope” communication leads to errors
  • Describe how effective followership involves taking an active role in communication
  • List standardized communication techniques nurses can use
  • Identify the dangers posed by low situational awareness
  • Discuss how the nursing environment makes situational awareness difficult
  • List strategies nurses can use to increase situational awareness
  • Explain the sterile cockpit principle
  • Describe how sterile cockpit principles can be applied to nursing
  • Explain how checklists improve patient safety
  • Describe strategies for developing and using checklists in the nursing environment
  • Develop a model for ongoing skills and team training in  nursing practice

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Nursing and Aviation: A Culture Comparison
Chapter 2: What is Crew Resource Management?
Chapter 3: Behave Like a Leader: Value Your Team
Chapter 4: Get Connected and Set the Tone
Chapter 5: Improve Team Cohesiveness With Briefings
Chapter 6: Followership: Putting an End to “Hint and Hope” Communication
Chapter 7: Situational Awareness: Making Clinical Decisions in the Nursing Environment
Chapter 8: The Sterile Cockpit Concept in Nursing Practice
Chapter 9: Developing Checklists for Nursing Units Supplement: Building an Airline-Based Recurrent Training Model for Nursing Practice


This book also includes bonus online tools you can put to use immediately!

  • Nursing team briefing checklist: Nurse to Nursing Assistant
  • Sample Med-Surg unstable patient checklist
  • Sample medication administration checklist
  • Sample IV insertion checklist
  • Assertive communication algorithm
  • Situational awareness strategies


Meet the Authors :

Gary L. Sculli, RN, MSN, ATP, brings a unique and diverse perspective to patient safety.  He has been a registered nurse for more than 24 years and has worked in multiple clinical specialties. He has experience in nursing education and leadership, and served as an officer in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps. Sculli is also a former airline pilot for a major U.S. airline and has developed and taught crew resource management (CRM) programs. He currently works in patient safety on a national level, developing clinical programs that outline the application of CRM and human factors in nursing practice to reduce patient harm.

David M. Sine, MA, ARM, CSP, CPHRM, has more than 30 years of healthcare safety and risk management experience in private and public sector health systems. He currently serves as a member of The Joint Commission’s Committee on Healthcare Safety, and acts as a risk management and patient safety advisor to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. Sine was formerly a senior staff engineer for The Joint Commission, a senior consultant for the American Hospital Association, and a vice-chair of the board of Brackenridge Hospital in Austin, TX.

Continuing Education:

If you would like to find out about the availability of nursing contact hours on this or any other HCPro nursing book, please visit our Continuing Education information page, here.

Published: January 2011