Monday, 24 November 2014

Nurse anaesthetists and handovers

Roger Watson, Editor

The work of nurse anaesthetists comes under scrutiny in an article from the USA by Testa and Emery (2014) titled Understanding the perceptions and experiences of Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetists regarding handovers: a focus group study and published in Nursing Open.

The specific aspect of their work that is reported in the study is handovers. In the USA most anaesthetic work is carried out by Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetists and, citing other work, the authors point to the crucial nature of safe handovers: 'Ineffective handovers contribute to increased threats to patient safety including medication errors, wrong site surgery and patient death'. Thus, the authors interviewed small groups of nurse anaesthetists to find out what their perceptions were of handovers and what had an impact on safety.

The participants identified four aspects of handovers that could influence the quality of handovers including: setting, timing, patient and provider (eg. nurse anaesthetist) characteristics.  In the words of the authors: 'This study is a first step in identifying what factors promulgate effective handovers and what barriers exist to effective handovers. Further research, such as a survey of CRNA perception of handovers, would be needed before generalizing this information. If shown to be generalizable to a broader population of nurse anaesthetists, this knowledge has far-reaching potential import for future education, practice and policy development.'

Reference

Testa D, Emery S (2014) Understanding the perceptions and experiences of Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetists regarding handovers: a focus group study Nursing Open doi: 10.1002/nop2.9