Handover is an important nursing responsibility because it is essential for good communication that allows effective transfer of information, responsibility and accountability for patient care to an incoming team. Handover is commonly given/received on a one-to-one or group basis. In some places, a taped handover is the method used to relay information between shifts.
Several communication skills are required to be able to give/receive a handover adequately, particularly listening, note-taking and comprehension skills. It is also important to understand abbreviations and acronyms and have confidence in medical terminology and nursing jargon.
Each health care facility will have its own handover style and format. In general, however, the type of information that might be given about each patient includes:
The aim of this vignette is to provide an opportunity for students and clinical staff to reflect on the process of receiving/giving patient handovers. Effective handover processes improve the flow of critical information between healthcare professionals. This ensures patient safety and the continuity of care (ACSQHC, 2010).
Use this video to help you become familiar with the process of listening to and/or giving a handover, and practising your handover skills during clinical placement.
Key points to become aware of are:
For clinical staff
Use this video to reflect on the process of helping students develop the skills required to effectively listen to and/or give a handover.
Key points to reflect on include:
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2010). The OSSIE Guide to Clinical Handover Improvement. Sydney, ACSQHC.