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Improving Shift Report Focus and Consistency With the Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation Protocol

Cornell, Paul PhD; Gervis, Mary Townsend MSA, RN; Yates, Lauren RN; Vardaman, James M. PhD

doi: 10.1097/NNA.0b013e31829d6303

OBJECTIVE: The Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) protocol was used to improve shift reports in 4 medical-surgical units.

BACKGROUND: The SBAR protocol is increasingly advocated for use during shift reports, but data on the efficacy are limited.

METHODS: Nurses were trained on SBAR in 4 medical-surgical units in a tertiary care hospital. Nurse tasks, tools, and locations were recorded during observation audits.

RESULTS: The average time for shift reports did not decrease using SBAR. Nurses spent significantly more time on tasks specific to report. There was significantly more dialogue and less writing with SBAR.

CONCLUSION: The introduction of SBAR made reports more focused, with more time spent discussing the patient and less on transcribing information. The SBAR protocol provides a concise and prioritized structure that enables consistent, comprehensive, and patient-centric reports.

Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.

Author Affiliations: President (Dr Cornell), Healthcare Practice Transformation, Dallas, Texas; Chief Nursing Officer (Ms Townsend-Gervis); Advanced Nurse Clinician (Ms Yates), Baptist Memorial Healthcare, DeSoto, Mississippi; Assistant Professor (Dr Vardaman), Department of Management, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Cornell, HPX LLC, 3412 Parr Road, Grapevine, TX 76051 (

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