Bedside RN to RN Handoff

Bedside Handoff is a time when responsibility and accountability of care is transferred from one nurse to another at change of shift. Nurses on unit F3 felt that this handoff provided an opportunity to improve communication between them and increase patient safety. Members from the Unit Council and Service Champions developed and piloted the initiative. The one month pilot was so successful that Bedside Handoff will be implemented across all units by the end of 2013.

Since implementing Bedside Handoff on several units, some of our key quality indicators have shown improvements.

Bedside handoff goals

  • Provide continuity of care and increase patient safety.
  • Facilitate communication between nurses by providing a structured time for transitioning the patient's care.
  • Encourage patients and their family members to actively participate in their plans of care.
  • Improve the following questions on the Inpatient Nursing Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey to above the 50th percentile:
    • Nurses listen carefully to you.
    • Nurses treat you with courtesy and respect.
    • Help toileting as soon as you wanted.
    • Staff does everything to help you with pain.

Bedside handoff benefits

  • Increased patient involvement and understanding of their care.
  • Decreased patient and family anxiety and feelings of “abandonment” at change of shift.
  • Increased accountability, teamwork, and relationships among nurses.
  • Decreased potential for errors.


Bedside Handoff occurs at the beginning of a shift. Throughout the handoff, C-I-CARE practices are utilized. Patients and their families are engaged in the patient's plan of care, and questions and concerns are addressed. In order to maximize the time spent during bedside handoff, pilot participants recommended that each unit develop service specific items to review with the patient. Bedside Handoff is concluded with the nurses setting the patient's expectations and exiting the room courteously.