Graduate Publications and Other Selected Works - Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Document Type


Publication Date




The exchange of medical information from one medical professional to another is known as the handoff. Communication errors during the transition period of handoffs can lead to medication errors, delays in care, high stress within the work environment, and increased burnout of the nursing staff. Approximately 1,744 deaths and a total of $1.7 billion in malpractice costs were related to healthcare communication failures from 2012 to 2017. One of the areas of the hospital where effective handoffs are critically important, given the high frequency, is in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). Major organizations such as the Joint Commission, the World Health Organization, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists have created goals to standardize PACU handoffs in efforts to address the problem. PACU handoff standardization has also been voiced as a priority for the project organization. The purpose of this evidence-based quality improvement project is to implement a standardized handoff tool at the project organization site. After searching for and critically appraising the literature, the project team will implement the Written Anesthesia Handoff Tool (WHAT). This project’s development, implementation, and evaluation will be guided by a framework called the Evidence-Based Practice Improvement Model. The aim of the project is increasing nurse satisfaction with the utilization of a handoff tool. The goals of the project are to implement a checklist as a handoff tool to evaluate nurse satisfaction before and after the handoff tool is implemented.

Keywords: handoff, post-anesthesia care unit, PACU, PACU handoffs, standardization, PACU handoff standardization, standardized handoff, Evidence-Based Practice Improvement Model, Written Anesthesia Handoff Tool, WHAT Tool, handoff tool, handoff checklist, nurse satisfaction

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."