Frequently asked SBAR questions

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 10, 2006

SBAR (Situation- Background- Assessment- Recommendation) is a technique first used by nuclear submariners to improve efficiency and clarity while communicating. The technique has been adapted for use in the medical industry.

The following frequently asked questions have been adapted from the HCPro audioconference "SBAR: Tips to implement, monitor, and train all staff" by Trudy Beyersdorf, RN, BSN, and Della Lin, MD, NPSF-AHA.

Q: Should you implement SBAR when you introduce a new initiative, such as rapid response teams or crew resource management, or should it be done separately?

A: It can be done either way. You can introduce SBAR before another major effort because it's an effective overall tool that can be incorporated in many initiatives. Staff familiarity with the tool may make starting a new program or procedure easier for staff. But starting SBAR as part of a larger effort is also effective.

Q: Can SBAR be used to facilitate the new Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) National Patient Safety Goal on patient handoffs?

A: Yes. The requirement calls for verbal interaction between caregivers, and SBAR provides a simple tool to increase clarity in communication.

To learn nine more questions and answers concerning SBAR, go to Briefings on Patient Safety (BOPS). For the cost of just three stories, you can get the entire February issue of BOPS. Click here to choose between the PDF and HTML versions for just $30. Subscribers to the online version of BOPS have free access to this article. Subscribers to the print newsletter can find this article in their February issue.

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