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Handover of Patients From Prehospital Emergency Services to Emergency Departments

A Qualitative Analysis Based on Experiences of Nurses

Sanjuan-Quiles, Ángela, PhD, RN; Hernández-Ramón, María del Pilar, MSc; Juliá-Sanchis, Rocío, PhD, RN; García-Aracil, Noelia, PhD, RN; Castejón-de la Encina, Mª Elena, PhD, RN; Perpiñá-Galvañ, Juana, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000351
Original Article: PDF Only

Background: During the transfer of patients, both ambulance and hospital emergency service professionals need to exchange necessary, precise, and complete information for an effective handover. Some factors threaten a quality handover such as excessive caseload, patients with multiple comorbidities, limited past medical history, and frequent interruptions.

Purpose: To explore the viewpoint of nurses on their experience of patient handovers, describing the essential aspects of the process and areas for improvement, and establishing standardized elements for an effective handover.

Methods: A qualitative research method was used.

Results: Nurses identified the need to standardize the patient transfer process by a written record to support the verbal handover and to transmit patient information adequately, in a timely manner, and in a space free of interruptions, in order to increase patient safety.

Conclusions: An organized method does not exist. The quality of handovers could be enhanced by improvements in communication and standardizing the process.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Health Sciences Faculty, University of Alicante, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain (Drs Sanjuan-Quiles, Juliá-Sanchis, García-Aracil, Castejón-de la Encina, and Perpiñá-Galvañ); and Vega Baja Hospital, Orihuela, Alicante, Spain (Ms Hernández-Ramón).

Correspondence: Rocío Juliá-Sanchis, PhD, RN, Health Sciences Faculty, University of Alicante, Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n -03690 San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Website (

Accepted for publication: June 4, 2018

Published ahead of print: July 18, 2018

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