Thanks for asking what would be helpful to us med-surg nurses in a transfer report. I'm someone who likes MORE information rather than LESS, whether I'm getting report from the previous shift on our unit, or from the ED, ICU, or from wherever the patient is being transferred. Basic summary of systems and recent labs are appreciated, but only the "abnormals" are necessary. Detail things like the patient can only take meds crushed in applesauce, date of last BM, or even something like a heads-up on a family member who is demanding or a patient's psych issues are very helpful.
We have 2-page patient profiles which have lots of info including their allergies, diet, history, and care plan that some nurses send before a patient is transferred and those are helpful to quickly scan. Our hospital went from verbal reports to handwritten reports a few years ago that have ranged from very detailed (RARE!) to practically nothing, where we ended up getting patients who were big surprizes. When I get a sketchy report for a transfer, I call the extension and speak to the nurse who sent it, and ask for more details. The hospital is now starting to go back to verbal reports which will be great, but we will have to make ourselves available when the calls come since it gets frustrating-- and downright maddening-- for the ED or ICU nurse to be told that the nurse is busy and will call right back, and then the nurse receiving report doesn't call back-- either intentionally or by accident. As it stands now, when we get the transfer report in the pneumatic tube, the transferring unit is allowed to bring the patient up in 5-15 minutes, so yes, there isn't much time to read, but I still like to be prepared.