A Journal Article a Week (25/02/11): “Handover process from the emergency department and the intensive care unit.”

One in a series of  journal article reviews. Yep, I’m late, again, but what the hey. You can sign up for the journal article a week challenge at Rob Fraser’s website Nursing Ideas. Do it. You won’t regret it.

APA Citation: McFetridge, B., Gillespie, M., Goode, D., & Melby, V. (2007). An exploration of the handover process of critically ill patients between nursing staff from the emergency department and the intensive care unit. Nursing in Critical Care, 12(6), 261-269. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.

The Skinny: Handover from the ED to the ICU — giving and receiving report — is crucial to proving good continuity of care. Nurses don’t do it very well; unsurprisingly, we would probably benefit from having a more formal, structured report format.

Money Quotes:

“Often, within general and long-term care settings, many of the nurses will be familiar with the patient whose information is handed over. Nurses receiving patient handover in these long-term settings often have existing knowledge and insight into the patients’ needs. However, the critically ill patient being transferred from ED to ICU will not be known by the ICU nursing team and therefore the need for clear and accurate sharing of information with the ED nursing staff is essential.”

“The patient handover has also been seen to play a role in clinical education of new nurses supporting group cohesion and acting as a social support mechanism for nursing staff. Strange’s (1996) ethnography of patient handover within the intensive care setting divided the function of handover into three themes. Firstly, there is the ‘overt’ function, which involves the sharing of patient information, which ultimately influences the continuity of patient care. Secondly, it can be suggested that there is a ‘covert’ function, whereby nurses may use the handover to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and protect their role in patient care. Finally, ‘ritual’ functions may facilitate nurses in maintaining certain nursing practices.”

New Insight: Who knew giving report to the ICU was actually so complicated and that so much of it is driven by nursing priorities and behaviour, rather than being, ultimately patient-centred?

Why You Should Care: Continuity of care, anyone?

Next: Intuition in emergency nursing: a phenomenological study.

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  1. Emergency Nursing Journal Articles

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