Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Diane Whitehead


Within the context of healthcare delivery, human lives are at risk when health care professionals fail to communicate effectively. Audits by The Joint Commission from 1995 to 2005 revealed that 65% of sentinel events occurred as a result of staff miscommunication, prompting the requirement that standardized handoff tools be deployed. Therefore, this project was completed to improve safety in the hospital through implementation of a standardized tool that could enhance the quality of nurse handoff communication. Mohorek & Webb's (2015) linear model of communication, which emphasizes the importance of encoding, transmission, and decoding in the communication process, provided the framework for this project. Participants included 11 registered nurses (RNs) and 14 licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) who completed the pre-and-post intervention survey using the Handover Evaluation Scale. The RNs reflected significant difference in improvement in the perceived quality of handoff following the implementation of standardized handoff tool: pre-test (M = 66.91, SD = 7.27) compared to post-test (M = 80.91, SD = 7.45); t(10) = -5.09, p = 0.000. On the other hand, there was no statistically significant change noted with the LVN group before implementation of standardized handoff tool: pre-test (M = 70.71, SD = 9.72) compared to post- test implementation (M = 73.57, SD = 7.73); t(13) = -1.06, p = 0.309. The findings resulting from this project suggest that there are important differences in provider types when using standardized handoff tools and that more attention to this dynamic is warranted. The social change mandate of protecting the safety of patients is enhanced through effective communication among nurses and was demonstrated in the project.

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Nursing Commons