SBAR is a technique used in aiding proper communication within heath care facilities. It traces its origins to the naval military procedures and was later on structured by Suzanne Graham, Doug Bonacum, and Michael Leonard OF Kaiser Permanente to used in health care. The SBAR technique stands for Situation Background Assessment Recommendation. It is defined as a standard communication protocol that aids in the reporting of changes in patient status or deterioration that may be observed between healthcare services or shifts. It was previously used for acute care communication between physicians and nurses but currently it is being used for communication between physicians and nurses (Shulman et al., 241).
The SBAR communication format is broken down to four elements. Situation being the first element dwells on the identification of a patient’s basic information on i.e. gender, age, name, illness, occupation. The Background element dwells on the patient’s medical history and complaint. The third element, Assessment, describes the patient’s medical evaluation through observation of vital signs such as heart rate, blood pressure et cetera. Recommendation being the last element of the SBAR communication framework, stipulates the actions to be taken regarding a patient’s case (Wu, 161).
Pundits note that SBAR is very helpful when it comes to nursing care. It enhances sharing of accurate and relevant information between nurses and physicians. It also enhances better decision-making regarding patients by the medical staff and improved time management. The communication format further enables the appropriate prioritization of patients in health facilities’ set –ups (Wu, 161). The SBAR promotes active listening by the nurses and physicians, which impacts greatly on their effective decision-making. The communication format advanced by SBAR also promotes credibility of nursing handover of patients from one shift to another or one physician to another.
The SBAR communication tool has a profound impact on the individuals in the nursing profession. The tool equips nurses with effective communication techniques that are important in the management of patients. By using the four elements of the tool, they are able to ensure that they report accurate and relevant information regarding patients in their respective health facilities. The tool further enables the nurses to incorporate right interpersonal skills while communicating with physicians, patients and fellow nurses in between shifts (Shulman et al., 243). The SBAR tool also enables the nurses to carry out effective time management, which ultimately translates to serving of many patients in a short time span.
Patient outcomes are also highly influenced by the SBAR communication tool. Many patients report satisfaction by the manner in which the communicated information in health facilities is managed by the SBAR tool. Through the four elements of the communication format, the patients are able to divulge only relevant information. The communication tool has improved the way patient cases are prioritized within the health facility setting. The patients are managed in accordance to the severity of their cases. The Nursing Times journal notes that in South Devon the SBAR communication tool on its introduction in medical facilities in 2006 led to four main patient outcomes. It notes that there was 15% reduction in hospital mortality, 30% reduction in adverse effects, 30% reduction in cardiac arrests, and 50% reduction in MRSA bacteraemias due to introduction of SBAR (Christie & Hazel, 14).
In conclusion, the SBAR communication tool is essential in the transfer of information between the three core parties in a health facility, patient, nurse, and physician. The communication system as aforementioned has various advantages that make it an effective communication structure in the health facility setting. These merits are sharing of accurate and relevant information, improved time management, and credibility of nursing handover. The tool has not only impacted on individuals in the nursing profession but also patient outcomes. In short, it has improved the healthcare experience for parties involved and the outcomes of the health service.
Christie, Peggy, and Hazel Robinson. “Using a communication framework at handover to boost patient outcomes.” Nursing Times 105.47 (2009): 13-16. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Shulman, Lee S, Victoria Leonard, Patricia Benner, Molly Sutphen, and Lisa Day.Educating Nurses: A Call for Radical Transformation. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2013. Print.
Wu, Albert W. The Value of Close Calls in Improving Patient Safety: Learning How to Avoid and Mitigate Patient Harm. Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois: Joint Commission Resources, 2011. Print.
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