The process of clinical handover is paramount to ensure that patient information is communicated in a timely, relevant and structured manner.

It is highly important that clinical handover practices are sound, to avoid discrepancies that could lead to the patient experiencing adverse events. Nurses need to be aware of the standardised structure for clinical handover known as ISOBAR.

  • Identify
  • Situation
  • Observations
  • Background
  • Agree to a plan
  • Read back

The following resources will identify the legal requirements surrounding clinical handover and how you can conduct a comprehensive and structured handover of clinical information.

Clinical Handover ISOBAR
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Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
The Commission is committed to improving handover communication across a range of healthcare settings.

Government of Western Australia – Dept of Health
What is clinical handover?

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
iSoBAR for Inter-Hospital Transfers.

Emergency medical skills courses

Thomas, C. M., Bertram, E., & Johnson, D. (2009). The SBAR communication technique: Teaching nursing students professional communication skills. Nurse Educator, 34(4), 176-180. doi:10.1097/NNE.0b013e3181aaba54

Thomson, H., Tourangeau, A., Jeffs, L., & Puts, M. (2018). Factors affecting quality of nurse shift handover in the Emergency Department. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(4), 876-886. doi:10.1111/jan.13499

Kerr, D., McKay, K., Klim, S., Kelly, A.-M., & McCann, T. (2014). Attitudes of Emergency Department patients about handover at the bedside. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23(11-12), 1685-1693. doi:10.1111/jocn.12308