C.I.P.R – critical incident peer response team. A welfare intervention for full theatre teams. Neroli Harrison-Katene

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Two anaethetists who used debriefs after simulated crisis were getting repeated requests to offer service for real life crisis. The theatre manager observed reduced resilience in staff, affecting retention and therefore encouraged these 2 to upskill in this type of intervention. Funded by theatre department.
Today we have a trained team of 14, with 8 currently contributing, consisting of; anaesthetic SMOs, surgeon, PACU and theatre nurses, anaesthetic technicians and midwives.
Programme set up to provide psychological first aid to staff members in the perioperative services and delivery suite, who have been involved in a critical incident. The goal is to help staff mobilise their individual and team coping resources to mitigate the psychological effects of the event. It is a team approach to welfare rather than individual.

Three key learning points:

  • It is unpredictable what events are “critical incidents” for people and which members of the team will be affected.
  • Having the full team is important for sharing of information/knowledge/understanding, and this helps immeasurably with the emotional response
  • Culture change within theatre by having this intervention available: a reminder that we are valued by our colleagues and management; is resilience building.

Team has been operating for over 2 years and held 20 defuse sessions. Anomymous feedback via a QR code has only been positive with all responders saying they would attend again and/or recommend attendance to others.


Neroli is currently the Clinical Nurse Coordinator for the ENT theatre at Waikato Hospital. She has worked there for over 30 years in a variety of specialties.
Neroli is looking forward to sharing an initiative they have introduced in their department to support staff wellness.