Handing Off Safety at the Bedside

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Abstract

The study purpose was to describe how bedside nurses can use nursing bedside shift report (NBSR) to keep patients safe. NBSR has been recommended as a means of increasing patient safety, but little is known about how or whether it does so. Grounded theory methods were used. Data were collected from 2014 to 2015 with bedside nurses in a pediatric unit with an established NBSR process. The primary process by which bedside nurses use NBSR to keep patients safe is reducing risk of harm through conveying the patient story from shift to shift. Having a perspective from the bedside is a key antecedent to reducing risk of harm, as it supports the nurses' ability to subsequently identify and address risks. Although often seen as a routine exchange of information, how nursing shift report is conducted can impact patient safety. The study reinforces the value of targeting nursing communication to improve patient safety.

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