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How can you help build students’ confidence in giving handovers?

  • Comments (1)

Collins G (2014) Using simulation to develop handover skills. Nursing Times; 110: 8, 12-14.

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“This article outlines the potential impact of ineffective handover skills on nurses’ confidence, competence and coordination, as well as on patient safety.
“It focuses on how student nurses can develop their communication skills by looking specifically at how the University of Derby used simulation to teach pre-registration student nurses effective handover techniques.”


Let’s discuss…

  • Why do student nurses often lack confidence in giving handovers?
  • What techniques have you found useful in building this confidence?
  • What do you think of the SBAR approach to handovers?
  • Comments (1)

Readers' comments (1)

  • I think students can struggle because once we get into practice, the nurses we work with have, over time, developed their own style of giving handover and the way in which one nurse does it (anecdotal, going through events and incidents) can be considered wrong by another (clinical, discussing symptoms and medication/therapy). And when we qualify we'll develop our own styles as well, adapted for where we work and the client group. This is covered in the study under the ambiguity students face.
    It looks like using SBAR may help with this, but any tool which is applied like this should be done carefully and sensibly, you would not want a nurse to miss out important information because they do not think it falls under any of the SBAR categories.
    I think the lack of confidence which the study identifies is also important, it can be daunting for a student to think "it's down to me to hand over, and if I miss something then the patient care will be incomplete and things won't get done and it's all my fault".
    I was fortunate to have worked for the NHS before doing my training and done many, many handovers as an unqualified member of staff, otherwise I think I would have felt a bit out of my depth in having to suddenly do them at university, at the level of a registered nurse.
    All I do is look at what I'm going to say beforehand and for each piece of information ask myself "is this relevant?" "Does it tell us something about the patient's current condition?" "Will it help the next shift to care for the patient better?"
    The only technique I found useful is practice, my university did a very useful "mock-coordination" day in a classroom, which culminated in us handing over an extremely busy shift concisely. It was different to the study in Derby in that we ran through a shift in real time, with the lecturers handing us written summaries of incidents and us having to plan how we would deal with them there and then, and then hand that over.

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