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Original research
Interdisciplinary handover between obstetric nursing and neonatal physician teams: an observational study
  1. Anshul Arora1,
  2. Thomas Kannampallil2,
  3. Joanna Abraham2
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2 Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis, Missouri, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joanna Abraham, Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis M0 63110, USA; joannaa{at}


Objective We investigated the content and quality of communication of interservice interprofessional handover between obstetric nurses and neonatal physicians for high-risk deliveries.

Design Observational study.

Setting Labour and delivery unit at a tertiary care hospital.

Method We audio-recorded handovers between obstetric and neonatal teams (n=50) and conducted clinician interviews (n=29). A handover content framework was developed and used to qualitatively code missing core and ancillary content and their potential for adverse events.

Results 26 (52%) handovers missed one or more clinical content elements; a third of the handovers missed at least one core clinical content element. Increase in the number of missed clinical content elements increased the odds of potential adverse events by 2.39 (95% CI1.18 to 5.37). Both residents and nurses perceived handovers to be of low quality and inconsistent and attributed it to the lack of a structured handover process.

Conclusion Streamlining handover processes by instituting standardisation approaches for both information organisation and communication can improve the quality of neonatal handovers.

  • neonatology
  • nursing
  • qualitative research

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  • Contributors AA and JA conceived the study; AA collected the data. All authors were involved in the coding, analysis and interpretation of the results. All authors were involved in the drafting of the manuscript and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The Institutional Review Board approved this study and verbal consents were obtained from all participants.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement This is a qualitative study, and therefore the data generated are not suitable for sharing beyond that contained within the report. Further information can be obtained from the corresponding author.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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