■ Physician-team:

Leveraging the power of collaboration to foster safe care

Office-based handover

Published: August 2021

Type of activity: Video

Activity summary

The short video "Office-based handover" portrays a handover between a resident, a nurse, and a family physician. The facilitation questions and suggestions to faculty focus on helping learners to identify information missing from the handover and how to use a structured communication tool to improve the handover.


Setting: Family physician's office

Nurse: Well, that sounds good with me but maybe you should check it with Dr. Morgan.

Resident: Sue?

Dr. Morgan: Yeah?

Resident: (to Dr. Morgan) I have to go to a dentist appointment. I just came back from seeing Mr. Kennedy. He's a smoker with shortness of breath. He probably has a URI so I sent him next door for a chest x-ray. Do you think you could check it and prescribe him something?

Dr. Morgan: Yeah.

Resident: (to nurse) Karen, can you let Dr Morgan know when he comes back?

Nurse: Sure. Oh, he's allergic to erythromycin and penicillin.

Resident: I didn't know that so could you maybe prescribe something else?

Dr. Morgan: Ok.

(One hour later...)

Nurse: Dr. Morgan, Mr. Kennedy just got back from his x-ray and he's not looking well. He is very pale and is diaphoretic. He said that he had some chest pain walking back from the x-ray. I think he's pretty worried because he's diabetic and both his father and brother had MIs in their 40s.

Concluding facilitation question: What information was missing from this handover?

Facilitation questions

  1. What information was omitted during this handover?
  2. What were the barriers to an effective handover?
  3. Identify and discuss any other communication concerns portrayed in this scenario.

Suggestions to faculty

In small groups, have learners re-write this handover using a structured communication tool and interactive questioning. Have one group re-enact the scenario for the rest of the group.

Additional resources

CanMEDS: Collaborator, Communicator, Professional

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this learning material is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific professional medical or legal advice, nor to constitute a "standard of care" for Canadian healthcare professionals. The use of CMPA learning resources is subject to the foregoing as well as the CMPA's Terms of Use.