Patients' participation during a nursing handover: the role of handover characteristics and patients' personal traits

Anat Drach-Zahavy, Olga Shilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AIMS: To describe the quality and scope of patients' participation in the handover process, in relation to their personal attributes (the big-5 model of personality) and the handover encounter's characteristics (presence of the head nurse, escorts, ward overload-namely nurse-patient ratio).

BACKGROUND: The scant research, previously addressing patient participation during a nursing handover, generally indicated that there is stillroom for improvement.

DESIGN: A quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional design.

METHOD: During 2012-2013, we collected data on 100 handovers in five surgical wards. Data on factors of the handover encounter were collected through structured observations of the event and data on personality attributes and demographics were assembled through validated questionnaires; we content-analysed transcriptions of the handover's verbal content for typical content, frequency and quality of the communication.

FINDINGS: Patient participation proved bi-directional, consisting of patient's initiative and nurse's initiative. Whereas patient's initiative improved when the head nurse and escorts were present and the unit was less loaded, nurse's initiative was facilitated by the presence of escorts and less overload. As for personality attributes, whereas patient's imitative improved with patient's high neuroticism, high agreeableness and low openness to experience, nurse's initiative decreased with patient's high neuroticism, extraversion and conscientiousness.

CONCLUSION: Findings illustrated the different communication preferences of patients with different personal attributes, as well as the different approaches by nurses to each of these different personalities. Nurses should be taught about communication and ways to engage patients during handover. Patients' education is also warranted including how and when to approach the different caregivers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • big-5 personality theory
  • handover
  • nurse-patient communication
  • nurses
  • nursing handover
  • patient participation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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