Conducting a Morning Briefing

CUSP Toolkit

Improve communication with nursing staff

Problem statement: Physicians can improve communication with nursing staff while more efficiently prioritizing patient care delivery and admissions and discharges.

What is a Morning Briefing? A morning briefing is a dialogue between two or more people using concise and relevant information to promote effective communication before patient rounds in the inpatient unit.

Purpose of tool: This tool provides a structured approach to help physicians and nurses identify the problems that occurred during the night and potential problems that may occur during the clinical day.

Who should use this tool?

  • Physicians who conduct patient rounds.
  • Charge nurses and nurse managers who make patient assignments and are responsible for the entire patient population.
  • Staff within the inpatient unit.

How to use this tool: Complete this tool by meeting with the charge nurse daily before starting patient rounds.

Briefing process

  1. What happened overnight that I need to know about?

    After receiving an update on the patients, proceed to Question II, unless there was an adverse event.

    If an adverse event occurred, you should also use the Learn From Defects Form.

  2. Where should I begin rounds?

    Below is a framework to help you review your patient population and planned admissions and discharges. After answering the questions, you should be able to identify whether you should start rounds based on patient acuity or with the first patient to transfer to more efficiently prepare for the unit's first admission of the day.

  Yes/No Name/Room and
Bed Number
1. Is there a patient who requires my immediate attention?   Name:___________
Room/Bed: _______
2. Do you believe patients will be transferred out of the unit today?   Name:___________
Room/Bed: _______
Room/Bed: _______
Room/Bed: _______
3. Who has discharge orders written?   Name:___________
Room/Bed: _______
4. How many admissions are planned today?    
5. What time is the first admission?    
6. How many open beds do we have?    
7. Are there any patients having problems on the unit?    

III. Do you anticipate any potential defects during the day?

Specific Things To Consider Problem
Person Assigned
To Followup
Action Taken
Patient scheduling      
Equipment availability or problems      
Outside patient testing or transportation needs      
Physician or nurse staffing      
Provider skill mix      
Page last reviewed December 2012
Page originally created December 2012
Internet Citation: Conducting a Morning Briefing. Content last reviewed December 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.