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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Genevieve E. Chandler

Second Advisor

Mary Ellen Burke

Third Advisor

Jenna L. Marquard

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Instruction | Other Nursing


This study describes nurse educators’ perceptions of content items for a high-risk, high frequency process essential for entry as a nurse generalist into clinical practice. The process of interest is student nurse handoff communication.

Research Questions:

  1. What do nurse educators identify as core content for successful student nurse handoff communication?
  2. Do nurse educators identify with one handoff communication tool for student use?
  3. Are student nurses expected to engage in nurse handoff communication during simulation experiences and/or clinical experiences?
  4. What educator characteristics are associated with his/her perceptions of the core content?

This was a descriptive study involving the administration of an online survey to nurse educators from across the United States of America. Ninety six core content items for handoff communication were selected, representing content items applicable to a broad range of clinical patient situations. Educators were asked to rank each item using a five-word response system.

Considerable agreement was identified by nurse educators on the core content items for student handoff communication. Educators perceived items relating to general patient characteristics, such as patient information and physical condition, to be integral to handoff communication. This research demonstrated the highest ranked items concentrated on a change in patient condition, treatment to mitigate the change and patient response to treatment.

This study revealed student nurse handoff communication process has a medical focus. This was illustrated in the high regard for a medical diagnosis over a nursing diagnosis and the use of SBAR for student learning.

This study describes clustering the core content into eight constructs. The constructs contribute to student understanding by linking lecture material to the clinical practice of handoff communication. The constructs frame the communication process to support student nurse behaviors necessary for the exchange.