Training on handover of patient care within UK medical schools.

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Training on handover of patient care within UK medical schools.

Med Educ Online. 2013;18:1-5

Authors: Gordon M

BACKGROUND: Much evidence exists to demonstrate that poor handover can directly impact patient safety. There have been calls for formal education on handover, but evidence to guide intervention design and implementation is limited. It is unclear how undergraduate medical schools are tackling this issue and what barrier or facilitators exist to handover education. We set out to determine curriculum objectives, teaching and assessment methods, as well as institutional attitudes towards handover within UK medical schools.
METHODS: A descriptive, non-experimental, cross-sectional study design was used. A locally developed online questionnaire survey was sent to all UK Medical Schools, after piloting. Descriptive statistics were calculated for closed-ended responses, and free text responses were analysed using a grounded theory approach, with constant comparison taking place through several stages of analysis.
RESULTS: Fifty percent of UK medical schools took part in the study. Nine schools (56%) reported having curriculum outcomes for handover. Significant variations in the teaching and assessments employed were found. Qualitative analysis yielded four key themes: the importance of handover as an education issue, when to educate on handover, the need for further provision of teaching and the need for validated assessment tools to support handover education.
CONCLUSIONS: Whilst undergraduate medical schools recognised handover as an important education issue, they do not feel they should have the ultimate responsibility for training in this area and as such are responding in varying ways. Undergraduate medical educators should seek to reach consensus as to the extent of provision they will offer. Weaknesses in the literature regarding how to design such education have exacerbated the problem, but the contemporaneous and growing published evidence base should be employed by educators to address this issue.

PMID: 23336969 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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