'Effective communication in hospitals' - talk by Prof Diana Slade (Australian National University) - hybrid mode

Wednesday 29 June 2022, 3:00pm to 4:00pm


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Event Details

Guest lecture by Professor Diana Slade (Australian National University), hosted by the Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science, the Department of Linguistics and English Language, and the Health Innovation Campus

Effective communication in hospitals: interdisciplinary, translational research to improve the safety and quality of patient care

Professor Diana Slade (Australian National University, Institute for Communication in Healthcare)

For online attendance via Teams: Click here to join the meeting

Clinical handover – the transfer between clinicians of responsibility and accountability for patients and their care – is a pivotal, high-risk communicative event in hospital practice. Studies focusing on critical incidents, mortality, risk and patient harm in hospitals have highlighted ineffective communication – including incomplete and unstructured clinical handovers – as a major contributing factor. In response, St Vincent’s Hospital Group (SVHG) in Australia invited Slade and her team to build on their Australia-wide research on clinical handover (Eggins, Slade and Geddes 2016) to collaborate with SVHG clinicians to improve shift-to-shift bedside handovers in the wards. In this talk, I will detail the research, ward level recommendations for practice improvements—including evidence-based training— and the impact of the collaboration in one ward at SVHG.

The research used complementary methods derived from qualitative approaches, incorporating ethnography and discourse analysis, interviews with clinicians and management, and video and audio-recordings of actual handover interactions. Following our translational methodology we did an in-depth language analysis of the spoken interactions and, based on our findings, made recommendations for ward level changes and delivered professional development training for clinicians and management. Three months later we assessed the impact of our training and the uptake of the recommendations.

Since the implementation of the ward level recommendations and the delivery of the training program, there has been a significant decrease in a range of reported healthcare associated complications. Comparing the 3 month post-intervention period to an average of the previous three years, there has been a 52% reduction in inpatient falls, a 22% decrease in the number of newly acquired pressure injuries and a 21% reduction in the number of medication errors and related incidents during this time. The impact, speed and degree of the changes implemented in the three months after the training demonstrated the power of cross-disciplinary collaborative research with management, senior nurses and communication specialists working together to make a difference.


Eggins Suzanne, Slade Diana, Geddes, Fiona. (eds). Effective Communication in Clinical Handover: From Research to Practice. Berlin: De Gruyter, Germany, 2016.

Contact Details

Name Elena Semino