Ask A Magnet Nurse
“Shift Reports At The Bedside Improve Patient Outcomes”
Katie Reid, RN - BC
Float Team, St. Joseph’s/Candler
Smart Living: If a patient stays in the hospital for more than 12 hours, they will be cared for by a different nurse than when their stay began. In many hospitals, when nurses end their shift and hand it off to a nurse coming in, the two of them go through a shift report at the nurse’s station. How is St. Joseph’s/Candler doing this differently?
Katie Reid: We give our shift report at the bedside whenever possible. For example, if I was coming on to my shift, the nurse that was handing the care of a patient over to me would introduce me to the patient. If family is in the room, the patient decides whether or not they can be there for the report. This allows me to have that first interaction with the patient while the outgoing nurse—the one the patient’s grown to trust over the last twelve hours—is standing right next to me. Together we do a quick assessment and also discuss any safety concerns early on.
If a patient is a fall risk, we can reiterate safety measures with them as well. Let them know that they can call for me at any time, just like they were doing for the nurse before me. Or if a patient was in a lot of pain, I can find out right away when their next medicine is due. It helps me get a plan together, and it helps the patient know the plan as well.
SL: Do patients generally like being part of this interaction?
KR: Patients here have said that communication between the hospital staff and the patient has never been better. And research from across the country has shown that bedside shift reports have led to improved patient outcomes. As a patient, you’re part of the process—we know what your needs are at the beginning of the shift.
This includes little things, too. A patient might tell me, “I would really love to brush my teeth first thing in the morning,” or “I really need to shave my beard today,” and then I know how to help them have the best experience they can. So it’s not simply the medical plan for the day but the whole plan, which the patient has helped create. And as the outgoing nurse, we can also use the report to make sure we’ve done everything we had planned to do. It’s a reminder to each other that we’re always here for the patient. Every shift change, it’s very gratifying to say, “This is your new nurse. They are going to take great care of you.”