Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation (SBAR)

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SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendations) was created by US Navy to help communicate important messages between submarines. Later, the SBAR acronym became popular for use in a wide range of industries, including healthcare and aviation industries.

SBAR in Healthcare

The SBAR is a simple, structured way of communicating between members of health care teams. It's used to communicate the situation, background information, assessment, and recommendations in concise statements. The SBAR can be used for any patient encounter, but it's most commonly used during an acute medical emergency such as a cardiac arrest or respiratory failure.

SBAR is a useful communication method used successfully in hospitals to improve communication, promote patient safety, and reduce medical errors.

In healthcare, SBAR is used by nurses and doctors to quickly summarize what happened, why it happened, how they plan to fix it, and what their next steps are.

1. Situation

The situation is defined as what is happening now. What is the current state of affairs? What is going on?

2. Background

What happened before the problem occurred? Why did things go wrong? What was the cause of the issue? This part covers all the relevant background information.

3. Assessment

How do we know if something went wrong? How do we know if we have a problem?

4. Recommendations

What should we do about it? What would be the best solution? What options exist?

Examples of SBAR in Healthcare

Please note that the below hypothetical examples are written by a non-clinical professional.

Example 1:

Situation: The patient has been complaining of chest pain for several hours.

Background: The patient had a heart attack two years ago and underwent coronary artery bypass surgery. He also has diabetes mellitus.

Assessment: We think that he may have a new myocardial infarction.

Recommendations: We will start him on aspirin and statin therapy.

Example 2:

Situation: A patient presents to the ER with severe abdominal pain.

Background: The woman has a history of pancreatitis and gallstones. She has recently undergone laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Assessment: Her abdomen is tender to palpation. There is no rebound or guarding.

Recommendations: She will receive IV fluids and analgesia. If her symptoms worsen, she will undergo a CT scan of the abdomen.


SBAR is a great tool for improving communication within your team. It helps you avoid missing important details, and it allows you to make better decisions.

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