Abstract

In hospital settings, the quality and effectiveness of shift handover are critical for continuous and high quality patient care. This paper explores nurses’ knowledge sharing problems during shift handover in 6 Australian hospitals. A single focus group was conducted to collect empirical evidence of knowledge sharing problems during shift handover, across the hospitals. Findings indicate a broader set of problems that hinder effective knowledge sharing and suggest that handover standards, codification guidelines, the format of templates, and training in conducting handover need to be improved. Additionally, knowledge codification by health professionals other than nurses needs to be encouraged to improve shift handover. Finally, more guidance and training in using various IT hospital systems are necessary to give entry-level and graduate nurses adequate skills to ensure more effective shift handover. This study emphasizes the importance of people, technology, systems, standards and routine activities to capture and share important shift knowledge.

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