Engaging patients and families as partners through bedside shift report

Nurse with mother and patientAt Cook Children’s, we’re committed to partnering with our patients and families. Our commitment to bedside shift report is vital for the success of this partnership.

For many years, shift-to-shift nursing reports have taken place at the nurses’ station or in the staff lounge and included just the nurses. Now, bedside shift reports provide an opportunity for patient/parent engagement. This enables them to contribute information, correct inaccurate information, ask questions, learn first-hand about the plan of care and understand the goals for the next shift.

During the bedside shift report, we encourage and support patients and families to participate in care and decision making. By involving the patient and parents, we acknowledge them as partners and reassure them that our nurses work as a team. For families, knowing that the nursing staff is getting the right information needed to facilitate care helps decrease patient/parent anxiety and improve satisfaction. 

It’s now been several years since Cook Children’s implemented the practice change of bedside shift report. However, recent conversations with our family partners and a Nurse Residency evidence-based practice project have identified opportunities for improvement and better adherence to our bedside shift report process. 

In an effort to improve our current process and create additional communication for families during shift report, a multi-disciplinary team of clinicians and parents have partnered. This allows us to increase nursing knowledge of the importance of bedside shift report, create and distribute education for both staff and families and monitor compliance to the best practices and processes.

As always, hearing from our families is the best form of feedback. One patient family best described the impact of engaging patients/parents as partners with bedside shift report.  "I feel informed, included and respected as a part of the team. It feels great to know that my input and suggestions matter. I may not get up and go to the computer every time, but I have my mommy ear on, and I’m listening to what’s being discussed about my child during that time." Wendy, patient mom.