A Standardized Shift Handover Protocol: Improving Nurses' Safe Practice in Intensive Care Units

J Caring Sci. 2013 Aug 27;2(3):177-85. doi: 10.5681/jcs.2013.022. eCollection 2013 Sep.


Introduction: For maintaining the continuity of care and improving the quality of care, effective inter-shift information communication is necessary. Any handover error can endanger patient safety. Despite the importance of shift handover, there is no standard handover protocol in our healthcare settings.

Methods: In this one-group pretest-posttest quasi-experimental study conducted in spring and summer of 2011, we recruited a convenience sample of 56 ICU nurses. The Nurses' Safe Practice Evaluation Checklist was used for data collection. The Content Validity Index and the inter-rater correlation coefficient of the checklist was 0.92 and 89, respectively. We employed the SPSS 11.5 software and the Mc Nemar and paired-samples t test for data analysis.

Results: Study findings revealed that nurses' mean score on the Safe Practice Evaluation Checklist increased significantly from 11.6 (2.7) to 17.0 (1.8) (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: using a standard handover protocol for communicating patient's needs and information improves nurses' safe practice in the area of basic nursing care.

Keywords: Intensive care unit; Nursing care; Shift handover; patient safety.