30-Second Head-to-Toe Tool in Pediatric Nursing

Cultivating Safety in Handoff Communication

Debbie Popovich, MSN, CPNP


Pediatr Nurs. 2011;37(2):55-60. 

In This Article

Additional Advantages of the HTT

In addition to protecting students who will assume responsibility for continuity of care for a pediatric patient, and for students handing off the child's care, the HTT has several other advantages. Students calculate safe dosages on all patients' medications and submit them to the clinical instructor the afternoon prior to clinical. This allows for safe and efficient medication administration because the instructor can supervise all medications and knows what dosages are safe. Likewise, once the HTT checklist is complete and reviewed at the start of a shift, the instructor is reassured of the safe status of the child and environment, and that all associated equipment is appropriate and operable. Safety issues are corrected, and unfamiliar aspects of care are addressed. Daily repetition enhances students' assessment abilities, calls their attention to the potential for repeat safety errors, and based on missing checklist items, encourages them to be proactive in planning care. By their own testimony, all students believed the HTT diluted their initial anxiety and impression of chaos, and helped foster a sense of calm, confidence, and organization.


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