Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Health Related Sciences

First Advisor

Suzanne M. Wright, PhD

Second Advisor

Diane Dodd-Mc Cue, PhD

Third Advisor

T. Corey Davis, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Jessica M. Ray, PhD


It is widely acknowledged that elevated levels of noise are commonplace in the healthcare environment, particularly in high acuity areas such as the operating room (OR). Excessive ambient noise may pose a threat to patient safety by adversely impacting provider performance and interfering with communication among perioperative care team members. With respect to the certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), increased ambient OR noise may engender distractibility, diminish situation awareness and cause untoward health effects, thereby increasing the possibility for the occurrence of error and patient injury.

This research project analytically examines the perceived impact of ambient noise in the operating room by CRNAs. Findings from this study reveal that CRNAs perceive elevated noise to be regularly present in the OR, specifically during the critical emergence phase of the anesthetic. However, CRNAs feel that increased noise only occasionally limits their ability to perform procedures, concentrate and communicate with the perioperative team. OR noise rarely interferes with memory retrieval. CRNAs perceive that noise is sometimes a threat to patient safety but infrequently engenders adverse patient outcomes. CRNAs do not perceive noise in the OR to be detrimental to their health but strongly agree that excessive noise can and should be controlled.

Increased ambient OR noise is a veritable reality that may pose a potential threat to patient safety. Further research to identify elevations in noise during critical phases of the anesthetic and delineation of significant contributors to its genesis is warranted.


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