Get access

Construct validity and reliability of the Handover Evaluation Scale


  • Beverly O'Connell RN, MSc, PhD, FRCNA,

    Honorary Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia and Dean, Faculty of Nursing, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
    • Correspondence: Beverly O'Connell, Dean, Faculty of Nursing, 217 Helen Glass Centre, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada. Telephone: +1 204 474 9201.


    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cherene Ockerby BA,

    Research Assistant
    1. Deakin – Southern Health Nursing Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Mary Hawkins BA, PhD,

    Research Analyst
    1. Deakin – Southern Health Nursing Research Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author


Aims and objectives

To examine the psychometric properties of the Handover Evaluation Scale using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis.


Handover is a fundamental component of clinical practice and is essential to ensure safe patient care. Research indicates a number of problems with this process, with high variability in the type of information provided. Despite the reported deficits with handover practices internationally, guidelines and standardised tools for its conduct and evaluation are scarce. Further work is required to develop an instrument that measures the effectiveness of handover in a valid and reliable way.


Secondary analysis of data collected between 2006–2008 from nurses working on 24 wards across a large Australian healthcare service.


A sample of 299 nurses completed the survey that included 20 self-report items which evaluated the effectiveness of handover. Data were analysed using exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis supported by structural equation modelling.


Analyses resulted in a 14-item Handover Evaluation Scale with three subscales: (1) quality of information (six items), (2) interaction and support (five items) and (3) efficiency (three items). A fourth subscale, patient involvement (three items), was removed from the scale as it was not a good measure of handover.


The scale is a self-report, valid and reliable measure of the handover process. It provides a useful tool for monitoring and evaluating handover processes in health organisations, and it is recommended for use and further development.

Relevance to clinical practice

Monitoring handover is an important quality assurance process that is required to meet healthcare standards. This reliable and valid scale can be used in practice to monitor the quality of handover and provide information that can form the basis of education and training packages and guidelines to improve handover policies and processes.