Answer to "What learning objectives should handover curricula accomplish?"


  • Describe why lapses in communication are a leading root cause of sentinel events

  • Outline how poor quality handovers can impact patient care

  • Recognize situational factors that can impact the quality of handovers (e.g. time pressures, power differentials)

  • Develop a standardized approach for transitions of care from one health care provider to another (e.g. change-of-shift, unit-to-unit) using mnemonics (e.g. SBAR, I-PASS)

  • Demonstrate the ability to discriminate between essential and non-essential information, that must be communicated to ensure safe patient care

  • Give and receive an effective handover at change of shift

  • Illustrate sound communication practices (e.g. asking clarifying questions, check backs)


Further reading

Starmer, A. J. M., O’Toole, J. K. M., Rosenbluth, G., Calaman, S., et al. (2014) ‘Development, Implementation, and Dissemination of the I-PASS Handoff Curriculum:  A Multisite Educational Intervention to Improve Patient Handoffs’, Academic Medicine, 89(6), pp. 876–884.

Wang, D., Sabri, E., Krmpotic, K. and Lobos, A. (2014) ‘137: Using SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment and Recommendations) to Improve Resident Communication’, Paediatrics & Child Health, 19(6), pp. e83–e83.

WHO (2007) ‘Communication During Patient Hand-Overs’. World Health Organisation. Available at: (Accessed: 12 March 2019).