UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Identifying critical information for nursing handover : designing a nurse to nurse handover form Chalke, Nicola Jane


Patient handover represents a significant safety risk. At each handover information could be lost, misinterpreted or not well communicated. Patient handover refers to any time responsibility for a patient’s care is transferred from one care provider to another. This process requires succinct communication between the care providers, in this case nurses, to ensure continuity and safety of patient care. A significant handover that occurs daily on any nursing unit is the handover that occurs between nursing shifts: the off-going nurse reports to the oncoming nurse. The purpose of this research was to use an appreciative inquiry process to answer the question: what is the critical information that should be included in a nurse-to-nurse inter-shift report on an acute medical unit at a tertiary, urban teaching hospital? A purposive sample of nurses from the study unit worked together over three separate project group meetings to develop, pilot and refine a new handover form. The 4 D process of the appreciative inquiry method was used including: discover, dream, design and deliver. Thematic analysis was used for each cycle of the apprecitive inquiry process and the main themes found are presented. The central findings from this project include developing a handover form that presents succinct, organized, objective and written information that focuses on the critical events or information from the previous twelve hours and what needs to happen in the next twelve hours. To ensure appropriate use of the form the purpose of the form should be emphasized to all staff and connected to patient safety and continuity of care. In addition, the team discussed implementing a formal and informal feedback process to further encourage appropriate use of the form. Finally, promoting professional accountability to ensure completion of the handover form and accompanying documentation, such as the kardex and careplans.

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