In almost any nursing setting, handing off a unit at shift change time in a smooth fashion is extremely important. The interviewer is looking to see how you handle the hand offs to and from your colleagues during the shift changes. Here, it is important for you to showcase your communication and listening skills and how you take information and put it to work. Walking step by step through your previous employers' handoffs can be beneficial as well because it will reassure the interviewer that you are familiar with step by step processes in these situations.
"At my current position, we have a process for transitioning at shift change. To start, the nurses coming off shift and those coming on have a huddle that is led by the unit supervisor at each shift change. Here, any significant issues with patients are discussed. Next, if any work remains to be done with a patient, we communicate to each other one on one to ensure that the needs of our patients are met."
"In my current role, I work twelve-hour shifts, from 7 AM to 7 PM. Many times, when the nurse for the evening shift arrives, I am still assisting a patient, and she immediately begins her nightly routine, so we do not get to talk face-to-face. So, to ensure everything is communicated appropriately during shift-change, I worked with our clinical applications department to develop a clinical handoff note that is built in the medical record. This is a communication tool that staff can use to communicate during shift changes or when they are going to be away for time off. I use this tool to document the pertinent information about each of my patients so that it is in one place for the next nurse to see when she arrives on shift. It has been extremely helpful in ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks and it allows the next nurse to get up-to-speed without having to read through every patients' notes upon first arriving on shift."
"During my clinical rotation on a Med/Surg unit, I had the chance to sit in the shift change huddles that occurred each day at the end of my shift. Witnessing how important the communication was between the nurses coming on and off shift was very vital in my learning how to be a great nurse. They took the time to talk about any patient issues and problem solved on any issues that required problem-solving. These are great learning experiences I will be able to bring to this job."
"Throughout my career, I have taken it upon myself to be an effective communicator during shift changes. In the nursing field, issues arise on each and every shift and to ensure that our patients are taken care of the best as possible, communication is key."
"I haven't personally performed a shift change, but I have watched many nurses perform their shift changes at the beginning of clinical days. The best shift changes always included why the patient was admitted, what medications and diet they are on, as well as important things in their health history. Functional shift changes always had clean patient rooms, early morning medications were given, and specific preferences made by the patient."
You make some excellent observations on what makes a smooth shift change. Very well done!
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