It is such a simple concept, yet so effective: Co-workers convene on a regular basis to quickly discuss issues.
Known as the Team Huddle and part of the HRO (High Reliability Organization) initiatives, it is meant to occur at each shift change. Designed to be done prior to the safety huddle and led by the Charge Nurse, whenever possible it should include RNs, LPNs, Techs, Patient Care Secretary, Housekeeping, Director; in other words, the entire healthcare team.
In the Springfield Hospital Emergency Department, nurse manager Amy Meehan, BSN, RN, found the Team Huddle to be an effective vehicle when the health system was rolling out the HRO initiative. “We had uninterrupted discussion and the opportunity to identify real-time issues around quality and safety,” she explains. Now, the staff depends upon this daily communication tool and will often call an impromptu huddle when the increase of census or acuity demand.
On 3 South at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, staff nurse Gabe DeCicco, BSN, RN, says it is a regular part of their day. “The purpose is to help the flow of the unit. It is a huge safety factor," she says. With a worksheet to be filled in, the team that is leaving must tell the team that is arriving all of the issues during the last shift. These can include:
- Patient falls
- Patients we are worried about
- Patients who are restrained and what types of restraints
- Patients for potential discharge/transfer
- Other patient/family issues
- Staffing/supply/equipment or environmental issues
- Other ongoing issues
The worksheet is filed in a Unit Huddle binder. If warranted, issues are reported at the weekday 8:30 a.m. Safety Meeting (11:30 on weekends).