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CVAHCS’s Medical Surgery Inpatient unit named Top Huddle Board for VISN-7

Registered Nurse Savannah Huggins explains the 2 West Huddle Board process.
(From L-R) Acting Medical Center Director Rebecca Strini, VISN-7 Network Director Dr. David Walker, 2 West Nurse Manager Laquana Williams listen to Registered Nurse Savannah Huggins explain the 2 West Huddle Board process.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina – The Medical Surgery Inpatient unit, 2 West, at the Columbia VA Health Care System was recently named as the winner of Top Huddle Board for all of Veterans Integrated Service Network-7, the VA’s Southeast Network.

“Huddle board implementation is a key part of the Veterans Health Administration’s journey to become a High Reliability Organization,” said Nicole Brown, the HRO coordinator for CVAHCS. “The huddle board provides an avenue for staff to openly discuss concerns, escalate concerns if needed, and ensures documentation of concerns so that follow up occurs.” 

CVAHCS started on its HRO journey at the end of 2020. Huddles and Huddle Boards are two of the four foundational practices of an HRO. What are the differences between a typical shift turnover and a huddle? A shift handover tends to focus only on the patients and their plan of care, whereas a huddle incorporates other key details like safety concerns, supplies, and staffing.

“Implementing huddle boards has been a learning experience because each department is unique, and their needs vary,” said Brown. “One of our initial huddle boards attempts focused on the use of virtual huddle boards.”

The virtual concept worked well in some departments and teams, but not as well in other areas, such as inpatient areas. “At that time, we revisited our approach and transitioned to the physical board model that is now utilized,” added Brown. “Most departments throughout the Columbia VA HCS have some form of a huddle board, but the utilization of that board varies.”

Dr. David Walker, the VISN-7 network director, visited CVAHCS and presented 2 West with their award. Laquana Williams, the nurse manager for 2 West was proud of her team. “2 West is the best!”

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