Translating an evidence-based protocol for nurse-to-nurse shift handoffs

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Purpose: Ineffective communication is the most frequently reported cause of sentinel events in U.S. hospitals. Examining hospital processes and systems of communication, and standardizing communication practices can reduce the risks to patients in the acute care environment. The purpose of this paper is to describe the use of an innovative, translating-research-into-practice model to generate and test a cost-effective, easy to use, best-practice protocol for nurse-to-nurse shift handoffs in a medium-sized magnet-designated community hospital in the United States. Theoretical Framework: Roger's Diffusion of Innovations Theory was used as the overall framework for the translational model with Orlando's theory providing theoretical evidence for the best practice protocol. Approach: Using the first three steps of the model, methods included: (1) identifying clinical problems related to shift handoffs; (2) appraising and systematically evaluating the strength of theoretical, empirical, and clinical evidence; and (3) translating this evidence into a best-practice patient-centered, standardized protocol for nurse-to-nurse shift handoffs. Conclusions/Implications: Meaningful clinician participation in the development of a standardized, evidence-based, patient-centered approach to nurses' change-of-shift handoffs was achieved. Using the Collaborative Research Utilization Model can facilitate the integration of new knowledge both in the clinical and academic community. © 2010 Sigma Theta Tau International.

Publication Title

Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing