Making the Transition to Nursing Bedside Shift Reports

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Background: For hospitalized patients, shift handoffs between the offgoing and oncoming nurses, as represented in nurse shift reports, must include all critical information about a patient's plan of care, and that information must be well communicated. Few studies have provided the longitudinal results of the transition to bedside shift reports, and most of the data concern relatively short follow-up periods. A 20-bed inpatient nursing unit in a Midwestern academic health center made the transition to conducting nursing shift reports at the patient's bedside.

Methods: Preparatory work for designing the bedside shift report process, which began in February 2009, included examining baseline patient satisfaction scores, reviewing the existing shift report processes, and identifying potential barriers and facilitators in moving to bedside shift reports. Unitwide implementation of the new bedside shift report process began in June 2009. In the redesigned process, offgoing nurses were required to ask patients to write down any questions they would like to ask during the shift report.

Results: For the first six months following implementation of bedside shift reports, there were significant increases in six nurse-specific patient satisfaction scores (scores in- creased at least 8.7 points, and percentile rankings increased from the 20th to > the 90th percentile when compared with similar nursing units in peer institutions). Longer-term results reflected subsequent declines and substantial month-to-month variation.

Conclusions: Although the transition to bedside shift reports met with some resistance, the transition was made smoother by extensive planning, training, and gradual implementation. On the basis of this pilot study, the decision was made to adopt bedside shift reports in all inpatient nursing units in each of the system's five hospitals.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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