Junior doctor survival kit
Handing over patients on call
Make sure nothing gets missed
- By: John Steadman, Sarah Steadman, Steven Alderson
Most medical students are familiar with the “day job” of being a junior doctor, which includes organising ward rounds, booking tests, and writing discharge summaries. However, fewer medical students are aware of the other side of the job, and the realities of working on call.
If you have followed the advice in this series so far, you should be prepared for your first on-call: you will know whom you are working with, how to get hold of them, and how to get things done. In this article we explain the importance, and process, of giving and receiving a good handover.
Handover is the process of transferring responsibility for patient care from one group of healthcare professionals to another—and, like passing a baton in a relay race, making sure nothing gets dropped.
As a junior doctor on call, you will be responsible for receiving a handover at the beginning of your