Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

The Content and Context of Change of Shift Report on Medical and Surgical Units

Staggers, Nancy PhD, RN, FAAN; Jennings, Bonnie Mowinski DNSc, RN, FAAN

Journal of Nursing Administration: September 2009 - Volume 39 - Issue 9 - p 393-398
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181b3b63a

Objective: This study was conducted to describe the current content and context of change of shift report (CoSR) on medical and surgical units and explore whether nurses use computerized support during the CoSR process.

Background: Change of shift report is a commonly occurring handoff that could contribute to gaps in care.

Methods: Bedside, face-to-face, and audiotaped CoSRs were audiotaped and observed on 7 medical and surgical units in 3 acute care facilities in the Western United States.

Results: Conventional content analysis revealed 4 themes: the Dance of Report, Just the Facts, Professional Nursing Practice, and Lightening the Load. Observations exposed the lack of content structure, high noise levels, interruptions, and no use of electronic health records in these facilities as a part of the report process.

Conclusion: Improvements to CoSR include determining a consistent and tailored structure for report, evaluating types of report suitable for particular units, reducing interruptions and noise, and determining content amenable to computerization.

Authors' Affiliations: Professor, Informatics (Dr Staggers), College of Nursing, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; Health Care Consultant (Dr Jennings), Evans, Georgia.

Corresponding author: Dr Staggers, College of Nursing 10 S. 2000 E., University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84108 (

Funding: This work was funded by a seed grant from the University of Utah.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.