Save time and pivot quickly with a Huddle.

Even if you’re extra prepared, things don't always go according to plan. Calling for a huddle is a great way to regroup, reassess and plan for success. This is a tool you can use on an as-needed basis to deal with an unexpected variable or a critical concern. Use the word "huddle" to get everyone's attention and gather your team for a short time to reassess your plan, make any necessary changes and get back on the same page.

What is a Huddle?

See It In Action

Tip Icon

Anyone can call a huddle.

If you see something that could throw a wrench in your team’s game plan, you can feel empowered to gather your team together by calling for a huddle to reevaluate—even if you’re not a leader or senior member of the team.

Question 1 of 2
Your team is in the middle of an important procedure. Unexpected developments have required a complete change of course, but time is of the absolute essence.

Do you still take the time to gather for a huddle?


That’s right! A huddle can help quickly reorient your team and save time later on by making sure everyone’s on the same page and reducing your chance of an adverse event.


Not quite. Even if it feels like you don’t have time for a huddle, it's a great way to quickly reorient your team. When things change, making sure everyone’s on the same page can reduce errors and save time.

Question 2 of 2
You notice an urgent need for a huddle, but you decide to wait for the team's leader to call for the huddle so you don't step on anyone's toes.

Is this the right call?


Not quite. Anyone can call for a huddle, even if you're not the leader or a senior member of a team. The sooner a huddle is called, the sooner your team can adjust their plan or start changing gears—and you might have noticed something the team's leader didn't.


That's right! You can feel empowered to call for a huddle even if you're not the leader of the team. Calling for a huddle instead of waiting for someone else to do it will get your team on the same page more quickly—especially if you noticed something the team's leader didn't.

Put It Into Practice
00:00/ 00:00

Help this team call for a huddle.

How would you coach this nurse to bring everyone together?

Don't call for a meeting, call for a "huddle."

Good answer! Using the word "huddle" signals to team members that this is a quick check-in rather than a long, drawn-out meeting.

Convince the other nurse that they'll just have to trust the doctor's expertise on this one.

Not quite. Even if the doctor is right and the team moves forward taking the patient off precautions, the informational conflict will leave the issue unresolved and the team will not be on the same page.


The huddle was called because uncertainty around contact precautions for the patient was causing confusion on how to act. Now that the huddle’s been called, what statement would you make or question would you ask to kick things off?

"Where can we find the most up-to-date information about C. diff contact precautions?"

Careful with this one. This gets to the definitive source of the issue rather than entering a back-and-forth of who's right and who's wrong, but it also might take more time than planned.

"Dr. Evans, I will contact infection control and clarify the policy on removing a C. diff patient from contact precautions. I will then get back to the team."

Great job! A quick clarification on next steps with infection prevention is all that's needed.

"I don't think we should be taking the patient off of contact precautions right now."

Not quite. This will probably kick off a longer discussion than is necessary. Using the CUS tool here might be a better option if there are major concerns about patient safety.


How to Hold a Successful Huddle

Here are some best practices for how to conduct a huddle.


Use the language and call for a huddle.

Once you've set expectations on what a huddle is, calling it by name will let everyone know what they are needed for.


Set expectations.

When calling the huddle, set expectations by letting participants know it will be quick.


Get to the point.

Participants will understand right away why the huddle is necessary and see the value in participating.


Invite participation.

At the end of the huddle, invite participants to voice ideas, questions or lingering concerns.

“Does anyone have any questions before we break?”


A huddle is an ad-hoc way to deal with changes and regain situational awareness.

Huddle Module - Brief | Huddle | Debrief

Want to learn more about Project Firstline? 

We value your feedback. Please complete this brief evaluation.