Handoffs and Nurse Calls: Overnight Call Simulation for Fourth-Year Medical Students

MedEdPORTAL. 2021 Apr 1;17:11138. doi: 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.11138.


Introduction: Interns must be able to give and receive handoffs and use handoff information to respond to calls from nursing staff regarding patient concerns. Medical students may not receive adequate instruction in these tasks and often feel unprepared in this aspect of transitioning to residency. This program simulated an overnight call experience for fourth-year medical students emphasizing handoffs, nurse calls, and medical emergency response.

Methods: The program utilized a combination of traditional didactics and simulated handoffs, nurse calls, and patient scenarios to allow groups of fourth-year medical students to independently manage a simulated overnight call. The program was designed for students as part of a larger Transition to Residency capstone course.

Results: We ran four sessions over 3 years, with a total of 105 medical student participants. All students reported increased confidence or comfort in their ability to manage handoffs and respond to nurse calls. Students reported that the sessions were helpful and realistic.

Discussion: This program provided fourth-year medical students with a realistic and useful opportunity to simulate handoffs and response to nurse calls, which increased their confidence and comfort. Minor changes were made between iterations of the course with continued positive feedback from medical students. The course is generalizable and can be adapted to the needs and resources of different institutions.

Keywords: Case-Based Learning; Communication; Communication Skills; Handoffs; Simulation.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Patient Handoff*
  • Students, Medical*