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Nurse-to-Nurse Handovers and Bedside Shift Reports


The current transformation of nursing requires improvements in patient safety. The following paper contains a review of two practices that allow for improved patient outcomes. Also, several related improvements are expected from their implementation that may improve the overall quality of health care delivery through collaboration between stakeholders.

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Nurse-To-Nurse Handoff

One of the important aspects of patient safety is the patient handoff between nurses. Several improvements can be linked to the practice. First, the handoff process provides an opportunity for nurses to communicate the essential information about the patient and, by extension, visualize the individual in question. This practice addresses the gap in the continuity of care by ensuring that no important details remain overlooked, patient safety is upheld, and the best positive outcome is reached.

Second, the patient’s collaboration with the nurses required for a successful handoff is expected to promote patient involvement in the care delivery process. The information intended for handoff is augmented with patient feedback, which increases its reliability. Besides, the implementation of standard communication protocols for informational exchange between the nursing personnel and the patients contributes to the robustness of structures intended to maximize the predictability of the outcomes. Simply put, the presence of schedules minimizes the possibility of human error and enhances time management on the organizational level. Finally, the patients perceive collaboration as an important contribution to the healthcare process, which empowers them to take a proactive stance. By extension, this latter effect can positively influence satisfaction with the treatment.

Third, the handoff practice decreases the ambiguity of nursing roles and provides clear instructions on the allocation of tasks. In the long run, this effect is expected to promote individual accountability among nurses, which results in improved safety outcomes. Thus, the introduction of the nurse-to-nurse handoff impacts several dimensions of patient safety and is thus a feasible option for the transformation of American healthcare (Sprayberry, 2014).

Bedside Shift Reports

Bedside shift reports are another important safety practice that remains under-represented in the modern healthcare setting. Three aspects that contribute to the overall improvement can be identified. First, the incorporation of reports was positively associated with the reduction of medical errors, such as erroneous medication prescription and administration. The systematic nature of the procedure also improves the consistency of the healthcare delivery and thus can be viewed as introducing a sustainability factor. Besides, due to several functional similarities between it and the nurse-to-nurse handoffs discussed above, the two can and are encouraged to be used in conjunction, further strengthening the result.

Second, the reports were shown to increase the quality of care by guiding nursing practitioners. Such guidance resulted in an improved sense of direction among the staff and contributed to a greater focus on the specific issue. Since the latter is often beneficial for addressing the unique needs of individual patients, bedside shift reports can be considered an important contribution to the patient-centered care and, by extension, to the primary direction of modern healthcare (Hood, 2014).

Third, because the reports are strongly dependent on evidence-based practice, they can be described as an important element for the promotion of an evidence-based approach in general. Since such an approach is considered the accepted norm of care delivery, the methodical nature of the reports will result in an improved understanding of its benefits, and eventual adoption in individual aspects of care delivery.

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Despite the recognition in the academic literature, many safety practices, including nurse-to-nurse handovers and bedside shift report, remain underrepresented in the modern healthcare setting. Nevertheless, the evidence shows that their consistent implementation will result in the eventual safety improvements and, by extension, better patient outcomes.


Hood, L. J. (2014). Leddy & Pepper’s conceptual bases of professional nursing (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Sprayberry, L. D. (2014). A response to the transformation of America’s health care: Direct-care nurses bring FLOWERS™ to the bedside. MEDSURG Nursing,23(2), 123-130.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, January 19). Nurse-to-Nurse Handovers and Bedside Shift Reports.

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