Implementing a Structured Nurse to Nurse Communication Strategy

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Wendy Woith

Mentor Department



Implementing a Structured Nurse to Nurse Communication Strategy Introduction: An estimated 251,000 patients die and more than one million are injured in the U.S. annually due to medical errors, and ineffective communication is a major underlying factor. Approximately 80% of serious errors occur because of poor communication between care providers during patient handoff. At one 400-bed hospital studied, there were 2.9 million nurse hand-offs annually, equating to as many opportunities for communication failures. The transfer of information from nurse to nurse during patient handoff is, therefore, a significant practice problem. Evidence demonstrates that effective handoff communication occurs with the adoption of standardized structures and processes. Furthermore, when structures and processes exist, evidence shows that patient and nurses have improved satisfaction. Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of an intervention intended to improve nurses' communication and patient satisfaction scores. Methods: We will use a quasi-experimental single-group pre/post-test design to test an innovative handoff tool. Potential participants will be recruited by email. Those interested will complete informed consent and the online pre-test survey. They will participate in a workshop on implementation of a handoff tool using the Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) technique to facilitate communication at handoff. Participants will then complete an online post-test survey. Research team members will round on each unit to assess use of the SBAR handoff tool. Changes in patient satisfaction will be measured using results from a standardized survey routinely sent by Press Ganey to randomly selected patients after discharge. Results: This study is in review by the Institutional Review Board. Preliminary findings will be available in April. Expected Results: Results of this study will guide future use of a standardized handoff tool at bedside shift report.



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