The role of nursing practitioners has grown considerably as these healthcare professionals have been empowered to provide a wide range of services to patients and make diverse decisions. Nurse leaders can now address numerous issues and improve the quality of delivered care. Handoffs and associated quality of care can be regarded as an area of specific concern as care is often transferred several times within a single stay of a patient (Wong, Tung, Peck, & Goh, 2019). When managing the issue, nursing professionals need to employ all the competencies identified by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE): communication, leadership, professionalism, healthcare environment understanding, and business skills (Joseph & Huber, 2015). Communication and leadership are specifically relevant as care transference improves when these competencies are utilized effectively.
First, it is necessary to note that handoffs improvement requires the use of a complex strategy that involves different stakeholders where nurses can and should be change agents. In order to ensure the development of an efficient intervention to improve handoffs in a specific clinical setting, it is important to apply the essentials outlined by the Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC). These essential activities include assessing, planning, implementing, coordinating, monitoring, evaluating, and addressing general aspects (Joseph & Huber, 2015). Irrespective of the project goals and features, these essentials should become the major stages of the project lifecycle.
As mentioned above, communication and leadership are critical components of projects aimed at improving handoffs. Standardized communication protocols and tools have proved to be effective in managing nursing care transfer (Boydston, 2018). Nursing professionals benefit from the use of checklists and reports that are widely used in the clinical setting. However, it is also vital to pay attention to the medical staff’s compliance and motivation. Leadership comes to the forefront as the primary competency to handle this aspect.
The implementation stage is often regarded as the most difficult phase of the process. The use of communication channels and instruments that are beneficial for some facilities can become a waste of time and resources if people are not properly motivated. Kotter change model should be employed to implement change in a specific facility or ward. This framework implies the creation of the sense of urgency, development of a coalition, communicating vision, forming the team removing barriers, acknowledging short-term wins, accelerating the new strategy, and institutionalizing it (Small et al., 2016). Importantly, the first two elements are essential and often define the success of the entire project, so nurse leaders should start with identifying the problem and making other employees acknowledge it. The medical staff should be motivated and inspired to be completely engaged and comply with the suggested programs.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that ineffective handoffs remain a common issue in healthcare facilities. However, modern nurses can address the problem effectively. It is critical to focus on such aspects as communication, leadership, as well as employee motivation. The CCMC essentials and AONE competencies can guide nurse leaders in the process of effective solutions development and implementation. Standardized communication protocols and tools contribute considerably to solving the issue. Nurses can use the evidence-based approach to create an effective intervention that could be utilized at their healthcare facility. The use of Kotter’s change model can make the implementation process effective. All nurses should remember that they have enough power to make a difference and contribute to the evolvement of the US healthcare system.
Boydston, J. (2018). Use of a standardized care communication checklist during multidisciplinary rounds in pediatric cardiac intensive care. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 16(2), 548-564. Web.
Joseph, M. L., & Huber, D. L. (2015). Clinical leadership development and education for nurses: prospects and opportunities. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 7, 55-64. Web.
Small, A., Gist, D., Souza, D., Dalton, J., Magny-Normilus, C., & David, D. (2016). Using Kotterʼs change model for implementing bedside handoff. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 31(4), 304-309. Web.
Wong, X., Tung, Y. J., Peck, S. Y., & Goh, M. (2019). Clinical nursing handovers for continuity of safe patient care in adult surgical wards. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 17(5), 1003-1015. Web.