Date of Award

Fall 2009

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Susan Jane Fetzer


Leaders in patient safety initiatives have promoted the use of standardized communication at the time of handoff as a means to decrease the margin for errors during the transmission of critical information. One means of standardizing handoff is by using the framework provided by the Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation (SBAR) communication technique. This framework provides specific guidelines for organizing and communicating relevant patient information at the time of handoff. To date there is a gap in training and education of handoff practices at the academic level of healthcare students. Potential interventions to address this gap include the positive benefits of appropriate handoff education and training among student nurses.

This aim of this study was to address the quality of student nurses' handoff reports and its significance to a culture of safety. A quasi-experimental pilot study was conducted to assess the effect of an SBAR education program on the quality of student nurses' handoff report. Six students were randomly placed into one of two groups. The intervention group attended an education program designed by the researcher. The control group did not attend the education program.

Statistical analysis revealed a significant difference in the quality of content of handoff reports between students who received SBAR education and those who did not. However, there was no significant difference in the organization of the handoff report between cohorts. The education program on the tenets of SBAR proved to be beneficial in teaching student nurses how to conduct a quality handoff report. Implications from this study include the positive benefit that introducing quality improvement initiatives at the academic level can have on patient safety.