Leaving written report at shift change?

  1. Just wanted to know if anyone out there has ever been asked to leave a written report for the next nurse at shift change rather than a face to face? It was suggested to me that I do just that tonight at shift change since the next nurse was going to be late. I have always been led to believe that this constitutes patient abandonment. What happens if the pt goes bad before the nurse arrives? What if the nurse never shows up? I was asked to do this by the charge nurse on the next shift. My charge nurse, unit manager etc. had all gone home. I said I didn't mind staying. I gave report when she showed up. Just wondered what anyone thought about this? Is this legal?
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    That constitutes as abandonment.

    And if i were the oncoming nurse, i would not consider a handwritten account of the shift as my 'report'.
  4. by   caliotter3
    You would have been jeopardizing your license had you left the building without being relieved by a licensed nurse. At a small LTC facility I was the only licensed nurse on NOC shift and stayed over for several hours even though I was really (I mean really) too impaired from exhaustion to be there, but at least I was a warm body. I waited until a licensed nurse showed up and started the morning med pass as best I could, very slowly, triple checking everything I was doing. It was scary.
  5. by   canoehead
    You need to wait until you see her arrive and physically hand her the paper.
  6. by   TracyB,RN
    Have to admit... I've left a written report when the oncoming shift was too busy blah blah blah'ing over their weekends. It was an almost every day thing & I was just sick & tired of waiting for my relief's conversations to be over. After working 12 hour night shifts on a busy unit, I just snapped.... So I wrote it all out, handed it to my relief, & told her to call my cell if she had questions when she was done with her conversation b/c my shift ended 30 minutes earlier & I had "stuff" to do. Solved that problem right then...
    I wouldn't have actually left the building, but my point was made & well taken. Never had that problem again. Just wish I hadn't waited so long to think of the idea.
  7. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    I understand how leaving the patient without a nurse is abandonment, but I have another question.

    The OP said the charge nurse asked her to do this, so my question is, could she have given report to the charge nurse? And, if she gave report to the charge, and left a written copy of the report with the charge to have & pass on to the other nurse would that still be abandonment? Technically, the charge would have the patient assignment, no?
  8. by   loriangel14
    I am a nursing student and I did a 14 week acute care placement in the fall. Most of the areas I worked in the report was usually written or recorded. Written report is pretty much standard. A verbal report would be impossible because the pts you have may not all be assigned to the same nurse coming on. written was easier for us students because all we had to do was find the report sheet for whoever we had and read it.If you forgot something you could go back and check the sheet.
  9. by   RNsRWe
    Giving a written report to the charge nurse on your shift is not patient abandonment. Leaving a report for whoever shows up (IF they show up), knowing there's no nurse legally responsible for your patients IS abandonment. You have not seen to the patients' safety by leaving a note on the desk and walking out.

    Hard to imagine this happens anywhere, but hey, I'm still learning. I'm not really comfortable when one of my charge nurses tells me to just give her a writen report, which she then takes into the next shift report to the day staff and day charge. What if she's not clear on something I've done? No way to find out once my butt is out of that building (I turn off my ringer and go to bed). So far, though (and we've done the written thing a few weeks now) no one has had questions as far as I can tell, so I guess my reports are sufficient!

    I'd stay right there to hand off that report to someone who was prepared to be responsible for those patients, and not leave beforehand.
  10. by   RunningWithScissors
    If the charge nurse has taken responsibility for the patient, and you are available for questions (by phone) once the next nurse shows up, it is NOT abandonment!

    Our ER faxes a written report before bringing a pt up, never call, and most of the time all you get is admission diagnosis and vital signs. And they think that's OK........
  11. by   SCRN1
    At the past two hospitals where I've worked, we always give written report and also verbally report to the nurse taking over. There have been times when a nurse was going to be late and the charge nurse said to just leave the report and she would "listen out" for those patients until the other one arrive. This is her accepting the patient(s) until someone else comes to take over and therefore, they are not being abandoned.
  12. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from RunningWithScissors
    If the charge nurse has taken responsibility for the patient, and you are available for questions (by phone) once the next nurse shows up, it is NOT abandonment!

    Our ER faxes a written report before bringing a pt up, never call, and most of the time all you get is admission diagnosis and vital signs. And they think that's OK........
    Well, as for the accessibility by phone, my charge nurse knows she's taking responsibility once she gets that paper; she has time to go over it and ask me anything she wants BEFORE I leave. Once I'm gone, if I happen to get the phone, great, if not, I bet she'll ask me before I leave next time! Never had this as a problem, though.

    Your ED's idea of a report seems kinda lame, imho....they have to call us up, give us everything they know about hx, what labs were done, what they gave for meds and what's due on orders....in short, everything they know, we are to know. And it works!
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    We dont' do this where I work.
  14. by   nfahren05
    Quote from SCRN1
    At the past two hospitals where I've worked, we always give written report and also verbally report to the nurse taking over. There have been times when a nurse was going to be late and the charge nurse said to just leave the report and she would "listen out" for those patients until the other one arrive. This is her accepting the patient(s) until someone else comes to take over and therefore, they are not being abandoned.
    We generally did this, too. Written reports are almost always better than verbal ones as the writer has had a number of hours to prepare (I generally started mine as early as possible, adding to it as I went along.) As the late arriving nurse, I would much prefer a written report, supplemented by any verbal update needed, to a rushed report by an offgoing nurse who was late and in a hurry to leave. Obviously, as is the concern from the original post, there must be willing charge RN coverage in the interim. Rarely would this ever be a problem, but if it became an issue, the offgoing nurse would have to stay; a written report left on the counter (in "limbo") is not acceptable.

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