The Journey Towards “Safer Practice”

By Gregory R. Schano, DNP, MBA, RN, CCRN, CFRN, CNML, CMTE, EMTP. Flight Nurse, MedFlight

The transfer of important data between caregivers and teams of caregivers represents an opportunity for information loss due to reasons that may include lapses in memory, ineffective delivery of a message, and not listening with intention. Besides these few very broad and general causes, there may also be other human, environmental, and structural barriers to an effective handoff (Riesenberg, Leitzsch, & Cunningham, 2010). Can you think of a few reasons from your own practice?

A culture designed to promote safety will consider barriers to effective handoffs and include strategies to mitigate the barriers (Lee, Phan, Dorman, Weaver, & Pronovost, 2016). The Central Ohio Trauma Systems (COTS) organization partnered with EMS agencies and hospitals to develop a standardized response for patient information sharing. In June 2020, partners with COTS contributed an online article “Collaboration: The Key to a Successful Patient Care Hand-Off” which you may find helpful in your journey to safer patient care.

View article here:


Lee, S-H., Phan, P., Dorman, T., Weaver, S., & Pronovost, P. (2016). Handoffs, safety culture, and practices: Evidence from the hospital survey on patient safety culture. BMC Health Services Research, (16)254. doi: 10.1186/s12913-016-1502-7

Riesenberg, L., Leitzsch, J., & Cunningham, J. (2010). Nursing handoffs:  A  systematic review of the literature. American Journal of Nursing, 110(4). Retrieved from: