Article Text

Download PDFPDF
70 Improving handover in a general surgery department as a foundation doctor
  1. Eilidh Bell,
  2. Joy Ngai,
  3. Shay Nanthakumaran
  1. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, UK


Handover sheets (HS) provide vital information about patients, ensuring continuity of care. With no guidance, the HS contained inaccurate, old information. Frustrated by squandering of a potentially useful tool, I took initiative to create an up-to-date, organised HS, sustained despite staff turnover. I led the quality improvement (QI) project with small changes, which were expanded upon. A template was inserted into the HS which provided essential information in an organised format, initially in one of the general surgical teams and following successful results with staff surveys, in the entire department. Round 1 showed that after template introduction, the HS was more up-to-date, accurate, helpful when seeing patients and improved handover and improved patient knowledge whilst similarly practical. Round 2 in the whole department improved handover, patient knowledge, discharge letters and seeing unfamiliar patients on night shifts. While the HS was accurate during most weeks, during the busy week in which the team was admitting, it was less so. From one team to the department, consistent, sustained improvement in continuity of care was shown. The main issue is maintaining an accurate handover during receiving weeks. To improve this, an interruption-free period for one staff member each evening during this week is being trialled. After success in general surgery, discussions are ongoing to trial the template in other surgical departments. I learned about the process of leading in healthcare, including planning and encouraging QI. As the most junior team member, I was wary of challenging ‘the way it has always been’. However, I was well supported and led successful change in the department, and perhaps soon the entire hospital. I hope to inspire junior healthcare professionals to effect change. The best ideas can come from a fresh pair of eyes. Improving healthcare doesn’t have to mean enormous plans; a simple idea can lead to positive results in patient care.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.