This assignment intends to review the concept of nursing shift handover. Nursing handover can be defined as an important time to exchange information pertinent to the continued care of their patients (Pothier, Monteiro, Nooktlar et al. 2005). Methods of handover are varied, ranging from taped, verbal, by the bedside or with typed sheets.
In 2010 there were 352,104 registered nurses, midwives and health visitors working in the NHS (RCN, 2011). All of these will partake in a handover of information on a regular basis, in hospitals this handover takes place at least twice day. In 2009/2010 there was 16,806,200 hospital stays in NHS hospitals (IC NHS, 2011). Information about their care would have been exchanged at shift changes, with the quality of each handover ensuring relevant care. Consequently, we can see that handovers effects thousands of nursing staff together with the thousands of patients in the hospital setting.
The Health & Safety Executive (1996) stated that handover has several requisites, in particularly that communication between shifts should be accurate and without misunderstandings. The need to improve handovers is international recognized along with the obstacles that need to be overcome. Solutions need to address the healthcare professionals resistance to change, while understanding their time pressures. Additionally, issues relating to staffing levels, language differences and lack of research (WHO, 2007)need to be taken into account.
According to Prouse (1995 cited by Carayon,) the cost of a handover in an UK hospice was approximately £80, (with inflation £125 (This is Money, 2011)). Additionally, Burke (1999) suggested using taped handovers saves a ward £16,000 per annum, which may lead to bias for this method. However, the personnel involved in each handover varies each time so accurate figures are not available or consistent. Moreover, any financial expenditure arising from clinical errors that may in part be due to poor handovers are impossible to audit accurately. Therefore, assessing economically based purely on time spent in handover may be erroneous.
Therefore, as nursing is defined by the Royal College of Nursing as providing the best possible care achieved with clinical judgement. Thus facilitating the maintenance, improvement, recovery and the ability to cope with whatever type of disease or disability they may have. Thereby, ensuring the best possible quality of life (RCN, 2003). Consequently, nurses should professionally strive to provide an accurate, time efficient handover suitable to support both patients and colleagues. Ensuring the most pertinent and relevant information in exchanged between shifts and amongst the healthcare team. Thereby aiding the aforementioned clinical judgement.
According to Sackett, Richardson, Rosenberg et al. (1997 cited by University of Southern California. 2011) the process of constructing a good evidence based question consists of four...