SBAR (communication format)

SBAR stands for Situation, Background, Assessment and Recomendation and is pronounced “S – BAR.”

SBAR is a standard format initially utilized by nurses to bring a physician up to speed on a problem.   At some point in time, it was realized that nurses and physicians communicate differently.  Generalizing, nurses want to “tell the story” of a problem and physicians want “the headlines.”

The IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) says:

The safety attitudes questionnaire administered at Kaiser Permanente identified that physician and nurse perceptions of teamwork were significantly different. Physicians tended to view the care environment as fairly collaborative, whereas nurses saw it as much less so. To address the issue, Kaiser Permanente developed a communication tool that was adapted from the US Navy, called SBAR.

SBAR is an easy-to-remember, concrete mechanism useful for framing any conversation, especially critical ones, requiring a clinician’s immediate attention and action. It allows for an easy and focused way to set expectations for what will be communicated and how between members of the team, which is essential for developing teamwork and fostering a culture of patient safety.

S=Situation (a concise statement of the problem)

B=Background (pertinent and brief information related to the situation)

A=Assessment (analysis and considerations of options ”” what you found/think)

R=Recommendation (action requested/recommended ”” what you want)

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