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Medsurg Nurs. 2012 May-Jun;21(3):140-4; quiz 145.

Bedside nurse-to-nurse handoff promotes patient safety.

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Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Nurse-to-nurse beside handoff allows the oncoming nurse to visualize the patient and ask questions of the previous nurse. It encourages pateints to be involved actively in their care and allows standardized communication between nursing shifts.


Patient handoff between nurses at shift change has been an important process in clinical nursing practice, allowing nurses to exchange necessary patient information to ensure continuity of care and patient safety. Bedside handoff allows the patient the ability to contribute to his or her plan of care. It also allows the oncoming nurse an opportunity to visualize the patient and ask questions. This is critical in meeting the Joint Commission's 2009 National Patient Safety Goals. It encourages patients to be involved actively in their care and it implements standardized handoff communication between nursing shifts. Bedside handoff promotes patient safety and allows an opportunity for patients to correct misconceptions.


A convenience sample of 60 patients was enrolled, 30 before the practice change and 30 after the change. All nursing staff were invited to participate. Both patients and staff were given self-designed surveys before and after the practice change.


Fifteen nurses with a mean of 2 years in the profession completed the pre- and post-survey. A majority of staff were not satisfied with the current shift change report, but statistical improvement was achieved after the practice change. Also, statistical improvement was achieved with patients' satisfaction with involvement in their plan of care.


Use of bedside nursing handoff promotes staff accountability, two-person IV medication reconciliation, and patient satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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