Using SBAR to Communicate With Policymakers

Carolyn Jurns, DNP, MSN, RN


Online J Issues Nurs. 2019;24(1) 

In This Article

Future Research and Educational Implications

While the SBAR communication tool is well documented in clinical and military literature (Marshall et al., 2008), continued research is necessary to demonstrate the efficacy of applying SBAR-modeled communication in policy arenas. Existing literature suggests that SBAR as a useful strategy to decrease barriers to nurse advocacy, including a perceived lack of personal free time and perception of inadequate skill when addressing policymakers (Cramer, 2002; Jansson et al., 2016; Jurns, 2017; Marshall et al., 2008; Vandenhouten et al., 2011). Established learning theories provide support for SBAR use by nurses familiar with the tool (Candela, 2012; Knowles, 1973). Future research should include examination of nurses' perceptions of self-efficacy when using the tool in political advocacy situations.

Another future application of this work is to incorporate SBAR advocacy use into nursing education. As policy coursework is not mandatory until the baccalaureate level, and a large percentage of nurses in the United States have not yet earned a bachelor's degree in nursing, many nurses may have never taken policy-related coursework (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, 2017; AACN, 2006; 2008; 2011; RWJF, 2015). Education is a key step when implementing change (Grol & Grimshaw, 1999). Incorporating this application of SBAR into nursing curriculum at all levels may help to educate new generations of nurses who are not well-versed in this skill, possibly leading to increased participation in advocacy among these cohorts. Nurses' perceptions of preparedness for political participation relates to frequency of advocacy (Vandenhouten et al, 2011). Therefore, it is advantageous for those already comfortable with the SBAR tool to know that they possess a policy advocacy skill as well. Continuing education forums, whether in workplaces or through professional organizations, may promote the use of SBAR as an efficient strategy in various policy arenas for practicing nurses.

"…it is advantageous for those already comfortable with the SBAR tool to know that they possess a policy advocacy skill as well."