Interprofessional teams constitute a crucial component of any hospital environment. Teamwork has been cited as an important factor in healthcare, since multiple specialists working in their individual roles all contribute to improved patient outcomes. Due to effective teamwork, “teams that are considered to lack skill succeed where others fail” (Bosch & Mansell, 2015, p. 176). In a hospital setting, communication, both among nurses, between nurses and patients, and between nurses and other professionals, is a major component of teamwork. One suggested means of improving it is the nursing practice of bedside shift reports (BSR). This paper will examine this practice from the perspective of iCARE.
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BSR involves direct personal communication with an individual patient, as well as their family, during a nurse shift change. Although short, this gives an opportunity to talk to the patient, hear their concerns, and reassure them. Furthermore, as a result of such practice, the people involved have another chance to find common ground and build rapport with one another. During BSR, two nurses — one finishing his or her shift and one coming in — are present in the patients’ vicinity.
In addition to demonstrating openness and creating an atmosphere of caring, this allows them to quickly respond to any issues, preventing or resolving sentinel events, which are otherwise common during shift changes (Ofori-Atta, Binienda, & Chalupka, 2015). Therefore, one can conclude that implementing BSR has a positive influence on patient outcomes and satisfaction.
The nurse talking to the patient during BSR allows him or her to voice any concerns and ask questions. This means that any issues related to advocacy are more likely to be raised, and any misunderstandings cleared. Therefore, BSR creates an additional layer of security for the patient, which can extend to detecting and resolving any mistakes by the other members of the team. For the nurses, this improves accountability as the process of the report and related discussions are visible, and the patient remains unobserved for a shorter time (Dorvil, 2018). Ultimately, BSR is a beneficial practice for both patient and nurse advocacy.
Stress is a major obstacle in any hospital setting, affecting all aspects of a care provider’s work, including communication. However, BSR has been shown to allow nurses to socialize and offer one another emotional support (Gregory, Tan, Tilrico, Edwardson, & Gamm, 2014). Furthermore, in successful implementations of BSR, report time is reduced compared to other report methods, allowing one to finish his or her shift sooner and reduce overtime (Ofori-Atta, Binienda, & Chalupka, 2015). Both of these factors reduce stress and allow better communication both among nurses and between nurses and other professionals.
Evidence-based practice includes the integration of the patient’s preference in his or her treatment plan. BSR focuses on gathering this information by directly involving patients and their families in the shift report process and encouraging them to ask questions and voice their concerns (Ofori-Atta, Binienda, & Chalupka, 2015). This knowledge can then be relayed to other professionals and used to provide patient-centered care, taking personal preferences and needs into account. Therefore, BSR strongly supports evidence-based practice by serving as a means of gathering evidence.
BSR is a nursing practice that, although it is primarily concerned with nurse-nurse and nurse-patient interactions, improves interprofessional communication. It benefits compassion by affording nurses more time with their patients and creating an atmosphere of care that extends to other professionals. BSR positively affects both patient and nurse advocacy through increased accountability and improved communication. The practice reduces care providers’ stress and overtime, enhancing their ability to communicate. It is a tool for gathering evidence on the patients’ and their families’ preferences and needs.
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Overall, it is a beneficial practice that provides a significant improvement in patient outcomes while facilitating communication within a team. Since it is a major organizational shift, if it is not implemented in one’s hospital, he or she can advocate for its implementation based on its benefits and limited drawbacks. If BSR is implemented, one can further improve it by advancing their communication skills and providing feedback on the practice in their particular setting.
Bosch, B., & Mansell, H. (2015). Interprofessional collaboration in health care. Canadian Pharmacists Journal / Revue Des Pharmaciens Du Canada, 148(4), 176-179. Web.
Dorvil, B. (2018). The secrets to successful nurse bedside shift report implementation and sustainability. Nursing Management, 49(6), 20-25. Web.
Gregory, S., Tan, D., Tilrico, M., Edwardson, N., & Gamm, L. (2014). Bedside shift reports: What does the evidence say? JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration, 44(10), 541-545. Web.
Ofori-Atta, J., Binienda M., & Chalupka S. (2015). Bedside shift report. Implications for patient safety and quality of care. Nursing, 45(8), 1-4. Web.