The Halo Effect

Conflict with colleagues, consultants, other staff? Tried to adopt the Halo effect?

Priming and modelling might improve your difficult interactions…

In his book, “The Halo Effect,” Phil Rosenzweig described the Staw study like this, “…it’s hard to know in objective terms exactly what constitutes good communication or optimal cohesion…so people tend to make attributions based on other data that they believe are reliable.” That’s how the halo effect works – things like communication skills are weird, nebulous, abstract, and nuanced concepts that don’t translate well into quantifiable, concrete, and measurable aspects of reality. When you make a judgment under uncertainty your brain uses a heuristic and then covers up the evidence so that you never notice that you had no idea what you were doing.

Research into the halo effect suggests this sort of thing happens all the time. In one study a professor had a thick, Belgian accent. If that professor pretended to be mean and strict, American students said his accent was grating and horrendous. If he pretended to be nice and laid-back, similar students said his accent was beautiful and pleasant. In another study scientists wrote an essay and attached one of two photos to it, pretending that the photos were of the person who wrote the work. If the photo was of an attractive woman, people tended to rate the essay as being well-written and deep. If the photo was that of (according to the scientists) an unattractive woman, the essay received poorer scores and people tended to rate as being less insightful. In studies where teachers were told that a student had a learning disability they rated that student’s performance as weaker than did other teachers who were told nothing at all about the student before the assessment began. In each example, people didn’t realize they were using a small, chewable bite of reality to make assumptions about a smorgasbord they couldn’t fully digest.


So maybe modelling a positive outlook will lead to others responding in kind…???

Continue Reading

4th Annual Fear Memorial Education Conference





Dr. Brock Vair, Surgery and Dr. Joan Sargeant, Head Division of Medical Education and the Planning Committee would like to invite each of you to attend the ………..


4th Annual Fear Memorial Education Conference


Simulation Education in the Maritimes


Friday, November 14, 2014  and   Saturday, November 15, 2014




Are you interested in:

  • The many simulation activities in medical and health professions education in our own schools and hospitals?
  • The critical role of interprofessional collaboration in simulation?
  • Engagement in our simulation network and/or research in simulation?


Registration Form:


Guest Speakers:

Building a Provincial Network for Health Professions Simulation – Lessons Learned

Dimitri Anastakis, MD, MHPE, MHCM, FRCSC, FACS, FICS

Vice Dean, Continuing Professional Development, University of Toronto


Simulation-Based Education: Building Interprofessional Excellence

Colette Foisy-Doll, RN, BScN, MSN, CHSE

Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton AB


What’s Going on in Simulation Education? National and International Perspectives (Working Title)

Stanley Hamstra, PhD

Research Director, Ottawa Skills and Simulation Centre, Ottawa Hospital


More information:





Telephone:      902.494.6307

Continue Reading

How to use Ventilation, BiPAP and Bag Valve Mask in the Emergency Department

This document by Dr James French is part of a learning package to help doctors and nurses understand how to:

1. Maximise success using a BVM

2. Use CPAP and BiPAP

3. Use a ventilator.

4. Prevent desaturation during RSI.

5. Reoxygenate someone during RSI.

Read this document first and then listen to the following podcasts and videos:





Download (PDF, 633KB)

Continue Reading

In Situ Simulation Season 2013-14

Dear Colleagues,

Last week’s in situ sim, concluded the simulation sessions for the season. It has certainly been a busy season for all those involved, delivering simulation sessions to our department and beyond. I would personally like to thank all the debriefers and facilitators for all the hard efforts and continued support in making this program work. Without them the educational value would be lost and the Sim program would die.

I would also like to make special thanks to all the participants (Physicians, Nurses, LPNs, RTs, PSWs and Pharmacists). The “buy-in” that you display really helps us get the most out of each session.
There have been difficult times where by the ED has been especially busy, however the sessions have continued. This may initially seem a little odd in that if the department is busy, should we not pool resources to help?….However this is the ideal time to test our resource planning and crisis resource management. We don’t want to find out about resource problems when there are real patients that we can’t handle. We are better off learning that from a simulation. This has been displayed on several occasions and well done to those who have continued to participate.

The focus of in situ simulation is not only clinical, but also resource structure and teamwork.

We will pick up the new season in September 2014. We will be hoping to get more participation from the whole team so that everyone has the chance to participate and benefit. It is important to emphasise that the aim of these Simulations is not the individual, but the team, so don’t be afraid about stepping up.

The Simulation program continues to grow and we as a department will find that we are more and more in demand from other departments to deliver Sims to them.
With that said, we are always looking for more people to help us and participate. So if you are interested please let me know.

Once again my sincerest thanks to all of you. Have a great Summer,

Jay Mekwan

Continue Reading

Debriefing Workshop

Having just benefited from a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable debriefing workshop delivered by Dr Jay Meckwan, I thought I would share a few take home points.

1. Simulation is here to stay. It is a proven method of delivering training and improving team performance.

2. Both taking part in and facilitating in-situ simulation is a fun way to practice rare event case management and I would highly recommend getting involved.

3. Debriefing well is key to the success of in-situ simulation. It’s not as easy as Dr Mekwan makes it look. As he says “if you think its easy to debrief, then your not doing it right!”

4. Debriefing is not about being ‘non-judgemental’ its about using ‘good judgement’.

5. Observations made during the debrief should be dealt with as soon as they are raised.

6. Use the ‘advocacy/inquiry’ method to bring your observations to the group


  • Advocacy: “I noticed _______”…
  • Inquiry: “I was wondering what you thought about that?”
  • Example:  “I noticed _____, I’m concerned that _____, and am wondering _____.  It seems that it may be helpful to talk about this in more detail.”
  • Increases participation – people are more willing to share their thoughts if you share yours first

7. Use ‘normalisation’ or ‘generalisation’ to avoid personal criticism. e.g “closed loop communication can really help improve team performance and harmony but it’s not always easy for experienced teams to implement”  would be better than “you didn’t communicate very well with the rest of the team”

8. See the Quick Ref. Guide for Debriefing on the Simulation Page  for more pointers…

9. Attend one of Dr Mekwan’s workshops on debriefing – They are extremely informative and great fun!

Continue Reading