The ritual circle at change of shift. It’s called “giving report.” A photographer captured this image of student nurses standing at attention as they receive report from the off going shift. They are receiving report under the watchful eye of their instructor. Trust me. The students were quizzed about their patients after report. What the camera didn’t capture was the stampede of nurses running towards the elevator after their shift was over. It’s amazing how nurses catch their second wind when it’s time to go home.

Giving report to the next shift is an art and it can take years to acquire the proper technique. Giving report requires good communication skills, diplomacy, and a sense of humor. Unit comedians deliver the best report. They use their witty sense of humor to keep the listeners’ attention. Diplomacy is essential. You can’t tell it from this picture, but things get really loud in the report room. Nurses eat and drink during report. They also gossip while you are trying to talk, and professionalism dictates that you cannot tell chattering nurses to “shut the hell up.” Then there’s the blame game. People get steamed when the off going shift passes things off to the next shift. This is known as dumping. Things get contentious when there is even a hint of dumping. Chill out people. Nursing is 24-7, but here’s a word of warning: God help the nurse who continually passes his or her work off to the next shift. Nurses are brutal.

I hope the teacher in this picture gave her students a heads up about the realities of nursing report. Things look too calm and orderly. This picture was staged.