Current Content
Volume 39 - Number 5
September-October 2013

Understanding the Clinical Handoff Perspective of Pediatric Emergency Nurses
John S. Murray, Jody McGrath, Mary Fallon Smith

In 2007, The Joint Commission began requiring health care organizations to develop and implement a standardized approach to clinical handoff. The goal is to improve patient safety across the health care continuum. While accurate and complete handoff communication is essential in all areas of patient care, it is of critical importance where patients require the most complex care, such as in the emergency department. This quality improvement study used a focus group to begin to understand the clinical handoff perspective of pediatric emergency nurses. Eight nurses of varying levels of practice who work a variety of shifts participated to explore the clinical handoff process in the emergency department of a pediatric teaching hospital. Perceptions and beliefs regarding the process of clinical handoff (who is involved, what variations exist, where they occur) and barriers to the clinical handoff process were explored. Recurring themes included provider-directed handoff, interruptions — impediment to care, and envisioning the ideal process.