Exploring nurses' perceptions of clinical handover in regional health care facilities: A exploratory qualitative study

Emily J. Weston, Diana Jefferies, Virginia Stulz, Paul Glew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aim: This study sought to explore nurses' perceptions of clinical handover in a regional health care facility to better understand the local context and identify the most appropriate clinical handover models. Background: Clinical handover is an essential aspect of clinical care, and yet using accurate spoken and written communication can be neglected in nursing, potentially resulting in patient harm. Although much information is available on clinical handover in metropolitan settings, few studies have examined the regional context. Methods: This study was an exploratory qualitative study based at one small regional health care facility located 100 km from a metropolitan Australian centre. The study utilized an Appreciative Inquiry approach to identify how nurses perceive the use of standardized oral and written clinical handover. Focus groups were engaged to explore the perceptions of nurses “handing over” in the smaller regional facility. Results: Through focus group interviews with Registered and Enrolled Nurses, the data revealed that the cultural context of the ward influenced perceptions of clinical handover and that handover served as a light in the dark for all nursing staff; as an evolving communication tool illuminating patient care needs. Conclusion: This study facilitated understanding of the handover needs of smaller Australian regional hospitals. This study identified gaps in perception about handover practices between junior and senior nurses. New graduate nurses develop confidence in supportive clinical environments. A transition to practice programme would need to address the challenges new graduates face in the regional setting. Implications for Nursing Management: Nurse managers in regional facilities can champion supportive senior nurses to mentor new graduate nurses and enhance the transition to practice for the new nurse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3113-3122
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Nursing Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


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