Communicating the status of your patients to an incoming provider before you end your shift is important for both the staff and the patients under your care.
We asked nurses on our Facebook page their best advice for end-of-shift reports, to ensure the highest quality and continuity of patient care. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Give a Bedside Report
“Check pertinent things together such as skin, neuro, pulses, etc. That way you are both on the same page.” Kathy B.
“Rounding bedside report. Allows oncoming to ask questions and puts face of the next nurse for the patient. Takes a little longer but better outcome.” – Dehanna T.
“Always finish report with a room check with oncoming nurse to verify drips, incisions, vent settings etc.” – Staci B.
“Going over patient's history and current status with the patient and the ongoing nurse. It's important to involve the patient so everyone could be on the same page with the information they have.” – Remina R.
2. Be Specific, Concise and Clear
“Stay on point with the ‘need to know’ information. Don't give long reports.” – Felicia S.
“In your report, be specific, concise and clear.” – Alayna M.
3. When in Doubt, Ask for Clarification
“Ask the outgoing nurse to clarify points you may not have understood.” – Raphael E.
“A wise CNP once told me that it is incumbent upon the recipient of information to ask the right questions at handoff!” – Rich S.
“Be mindful that most errors occur at the change of shift, so be cognizant about these possibilities.” – Camille R.
4. Record Everything
“Don't rely on memory alone, especially when giving report from night to day shift. Anything you feel is important write it down. I've found best reports are given by nurses who have their information organized in a consistent manner.” – Bethany F.
“We used to record our shift report which allowed the oncoming staff to listen while we completed whatever we had to complete before leaving. We added information on paper if needed.” – Julia E.
5. Be Positive!
“Never make facial expressions for change of shift staffs. Always keep your thoughts positive and reassure your team.” – Bhawani P.
“Unless it bears on patient care, keep your emotions from the day out of it.” Jennifer Y.
“Be respectful of each other, kind and professional!” – Camille R.
“Always manage up to leave your patients with confidence that they will be well cared for. Never tell the oncoming nurse how horrible your shift was, set them up for success!!” – Krissy J.
“I liked to always start out with "You're going to love these patients!" – Jack D.
Did we leave something out? Share your tips for an effective end-of-shift report in the comments below!
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