Nursing Handover: Nursing Handover Guidelines
The handover is one of the most important parts of the nursing day. It doesn’t matter what setting you work in, the same rule applies – if the right-hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing then mayhem ensues. Probably the most important thing to remember about the handover is that if it’s done right, the incoming staff can pick up from where you left off, confident that they know what’s expected of them, and able to catch up any slack that was missed.
The first rule of handover is never rush the handover – and never let it go over time either or there will be unhappy people waiting to get home. Allow enough time for your area of nursing to get all the information you need. This may be 10 minutes or 45 minutes – we all work in different environments.
Create an atmosphere for handover where questions are encouraged, perhaps after each patient, before moving on to the next one.
Share team news
It’s a lovely opportunity to gel together as a team, and that includes ‘handing over’ that it’s Julie’s birthday and that Sarah is retiring, and so on.
It is the mother and father of all misunderstandings.
Common terminology and abbreviations can be printed at the bottom of the handover sheet if they must be used. For example: CTTO = clips to take out.
It’s a good opportunity to get students to practice being in charge by letting them lead the handover.
Handing over… to yourself
If you’re handing over to yourself, write clear notes as to what needs to be done the next day, just in case you forget/run away to Boko Haram/get a vendor supply.
Make your own documents
Create a handover document that suits your environment. It may include details about the patient and their family, relevant medical history, reason for admission or being under your care, long term plan, daily plan, booked procedures, appointments and so on. This should be updated throughout the day and not cobbled together five minutes before handover.