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Abstract

Background: Poor communication processes create opportunities for errors when caregivers fail to transfer complete and consistent information. Inadequate or nonexistent clinical handovers or failures to transfer information, responsibility, and accountability can have dire consequences for hospitalized patients. Clinical handover is practiced every day, in a multitude of ways, in all health care settings. Objective: The goal of this study is to build a consensus, evidence-based nursing handover standard for inpatients during shift changes or internal transfers between hospital wards. The study will be based on papers published by Slade et al. Methods: This protocol describes a modified Delphi data-collection survey involving a targeted panel sample of 300 nurse experts. A multi-round survey will select an anonymous panel from a multi-site public hospital in Switzerland. Each survey stage will be described and will build on the previous one. The study will end with a focus group discussion involving a randomly selected panel to explain why items for the evidence-based clinical nursing handover standard were accepted or not accepted. An item must achieve a consensus of ≥70% for inclusion. Results: The present study’s expected outcome is a consensus-built, evidence-based nursing handover standard for inpatients during shift changes or internal transfers between the wards of a multi-site public hospital in Switzerland. Conclusions: This survey will enable us to develop an evidence-based nursing handover standard for use during shift changes and internal inpatient transfers in a multi-site public hospital in Switzerland.

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