Objective: The purpose of the present study is to investigate perceptions by paramedics and hospital receiving staff about what enables and constrains handover in the ED.
Methods: This is a qualitative study of interviews with 19 paramedics, 15 nurses and 16 doctors (n = 50) from ambulance services and ED in two states of Australia.
Results: Three main themes emerged that were evident at both sites and in the three professional groups. These were: difficulties in creating a shared cognitive picture, tensions between 'doing' and 'listening' and fragmenting communication.
Conclusion: Recommendations arising from the present study as to how handover could be improved are the need for a common language between paramedics and staff in the ED, for shared experiences and understanding between the members of the team and for the development of a standardized approach to handover from paramedics to ED receiving staff.