The non-verbal communication in handover situations are the spice between the lines, to understand the severity of the patient’s condition

Hanna Engstrand, Janet Mattsson


Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate emergency nurses’ experiences of verbal handover from emergency medical services and through these experiences uncover patient safety issues in the handover situation.

Methods: Design: The design is qualitative inductive and aims to deepen the understanding of the handover situation and to uncover the nurses’ experiences in such a situation. Methods: A qualitative research process which takes its departure in patient safety theory. Nine informants were interviewed and a content analysis was applied.

Results: The results show that a lack of structure, lack of seeing the non-verbal communication, the nurses’ own requirement for full control and the lack of active listening involves patient safety risks. Emergency nurses want a handover that is personal and provides a comprehensive picture of the patient to support, deepen or contradict the verbal handover given.

Practical implications: The non-verbal communication in the handover situation is key to understand the severity of the situation and give the nurses profane knowledge how to prepare the continuing nursing care. To further support the understanding of the situation, information should be presented in chronological order.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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