The handover process and triage of ambulance-borne patients: the experiences of emergency nurses.Nurs Crit Care. 2005 Jul-Aug; 10(4):201-9.NC
One of the most important tasks that a nurse faces in the emergency room, when receiving a patient, is handover and the triage function. The aim of the study was to explore the experiences of nurses receiving patients who were brought into hospital as emergencies by ambulance crews through an analysis of the handover and triage process. A qualitative descriptive interview study inspired by the phenomenological method was used with six emergency nurses. There are three elements to a handover: a verbal report, handing over documented accounts and the final symbolic handover when a patient is transferred from the ambulance stretcher onto the hospital stretcher. The study identified that the verbal communication between ambulance and emergency nurses was often very structured. The ideal handovers often involved patients with very distinct medical problems. The difficult handover or the 'non-ideal' one was characterized by a significantly more complicated care situation. The handover function was pivotal in ensuring that the patient received the correct care and that care was provided at the appropriate level. The most seriously afflicted patients arrived by ambulance; therefore, the interplay between pre-hospital and hospital personnel was vital in conveying this important information. To some extent, this functioned well, but this research has identified areas where this care can be improved.