Nurses discuss bedside handover and using written handover sheets


Leanne S. Cowin
School of Nursing and Midwifery
University of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797 Penrith
Australia 2751


Background  The analysis of nursing errors in clinical management highlighted that clinical handover plays a pivotal role in patient safety. Changes to handover including conducting handover at the bedside and the use of written handover summary sheets were subsequently implemented.

Aim  The aim of the study was to explore nurses’ perspectives on the introduction of bedside handover and the use of written handover sheets.

Method  Using a qualitative approach, data were obtained from six focus groups containing 30 registered and enrolled (licensed practical) nurses. Thematic analysis revealed several major themes.

Findings  Themes identified included: bedside handover and the strengths and weaknesses; patient involvement in handover, and good communication is about good communicators. Finally, three sources of patient information and other issues were also identified as key aspects.

Conclusions  How bedside handover is delivered should be considered in relation to specific patient caseloads (patients with cognitive impairments), the shift (day, evening or night shift) and the model of service delivery (team versus patient allocation).

Implications for nursing management  Flexible handover methods are implicit within clinical setting issues especially in consideration to nursing teamwork. Good communication processes continue to be fundamental for successful handover processes.