Current Content
Volume 37 - Number 2
March-April 2011

30-Second Head-to-Toe Tool in Pediatric Nursing: Cultivating Safety In Handoff Communication
Debbie Popovich

Efforts to improve handoff practices among providers during shift changes are needed to augment patient safety, particularly among pediatric patients. To this aim, nurse faculty developed and enhanced a tool to standardize a thinking process for students during their pediatric clinical experience. The 30-Second Head-to-Toe checklist allows for rapid assessment of a child's condition and environment. It offers both students and nurses a consistent system for reducing errors attributable to incomplete or inaccurate information during this critical transition. Students completed checklists for 352 pediatric patients over a period of two years. Identified discrepancies were analyzed. Findings confirmed the importance of a standardized system during shift changes to reduce errors and achieve accurate, consistent communication. Students also reported that using the tool and reviewing it with instructors helped them overcome initial feelings of anxiety and fostered confidence.