1. Classen, Julie RN, BSN

Article Content

I was elated to read the article "Meeting of the Minds," which appeared in the August issue. Before reading this article, I had just finished having a conversation with a colleague regarding communication failures among nurses in healthcare facilities. We were brainstorming to discover creative techniques for improving communication between nurses at the department level, as well as ensuring that all nurses within the hospital hear the same information delivered in a similar fashion. Therefore, I found the content of this article to be very timely.


The authors described implementing a practice of huddling on one pilot unit, then expanding this successful endeavor to other units within their facility. With the concept of huddles, staff nurses are empowered to call these miniconferences if the acuity of their patient changes or if new information needs to be communicated to other nurses in the unit. This keeps peers informed so that they can better assist anyone whose assignment is causing them to become overwhelmed or patient safety to become jeopardized. The authors suggested that teamwork and collaboration were improved after huddles were introduced to the nursing staff.


If the huddle concept was expanded to an interdepartmental approach, I feel that effective communication would ensue. With so many patient safety and regulatory issues at the forefront of hospital care, best practices are being developed daily but may not be communicated to all nurses within the same organization. Without a venue for standardizing practice among units (huddles), different approaches may develop. During a recent accreditation survey, a nurse surveyor shared her mantra with me: Variability equals vulnerability. If nurse managers performed daily huddles between departments, an opportunity for standardizing practice to increase the safety and quality of patient care would present itself.


I believe huddles, although extremely simple, provide an excellent opportunity for staff to communicate with one another about the patients they care for. In addition, interdepartmental huddles offer a pliable solution for organizational streamlining and communication. With the incredible workload of nurses in hospitals today, one of the foreseeable challenges is introducing huddles as a positive improvement for communication rather than huddling being received as "one more new thing we have to do." If retail chains can implement huddles to keep workers informed of priorities and updates within a store location, it isn't unimaginable that nurses caring for patients in hospitals can implement effective tools to ensure patient safety and improved communication.