uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
What’s my line?: A narrative review and synthesis of the literature on Registered Nurses' communication behaviours between shifts
School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Australia; Centre for Evidence based Practice South Australia, School of Nursing, The University of Adelaide, Australia;Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, United Kingdom .
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Cardiovascular epidemiology. School of Nursing, University of Adelaide. (Institutionen för Folkhälso- och vårdvetenskap, Hälso- och sjukvårdsforskning)
School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Australia.
School of Nursing, University of Adelaide, Australia.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, ISSN 0309-2402, E-ISSN 1365-2648, Vol. 70, no 6, 1228-1242 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


To describe, appraise and synthesize the seminal and empirical literature around Registered Nurses' communication behaviours between shifts in acute hospital settings.


Effective communication between shifts (at nursing handover) is acknowledged as a prerequisite to safe and high-quality patient-centred care. However, gaps and inconsistencies continue to prevail.


Narrative review and synthesis.

Data sources

The electronic databases PubMED, CINAHL and Scopus were used.

Review methods

English language, peer-reviewed papers published between 1970–April 2012 were considered for review. Criteria included Registered Nurses' communication during handovers in adult hospital settings.


Twenty-nine papers were reviewed. The research lacks a clear conceptual framework to define the core purposes of Nurses' communication behaviours between shifts. Seven themes were identified: overall purpose; report givers and receivers; seeing the whole picture; teaching and education; language; patient-centred care; and social cohesion. Two main communication processes are required – one articulating the whole picture and the other detailing information about patients.


This area of research is challenged by lack of consistency in terminology and methodological rigour. While recent research has confirmed the findings from the seminal work, it has not been able to elaborate on some of the key challenges to refine the knowledge base. A more integrated approach is required to understand the complex process of improving nursing communication behaviours, particularly around the nursing handover. A neglected area of study is the role of the unit lead in determining the communication standards of the whole nursing team.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 70, no 6, 1228-1242 p.
National Category
Research subject
Caring Sciences in Medical Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-220943DOI: 10.1111/jan.12321ISI: 000334302500003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-220943DiVA: diva2:707357
Available from: 2014-03-24 Created: 2014-03-24 Last updated: 2014-07-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Muntlin Athlin, Åsa
By organisation
Cardiovascular epidemiology
In the same journal
Journal of Advanced Nursing

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 171 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link