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Nurses Lead Change to Transform

“Nurses have been called to lead change to
advance the health of individuals, populations, and systems” (Nelson-Brantley
& Ford, 2017, p. 834).  Techniques,
such as a SWOT analysis, force field analysis and gap analysis, assist nurse
leaders with steering a health care delivery system in the right
direction.  The focus of this paper will
be on the strategic planning that is used within a health care organization to
transform the way that care is delivered. 
I will discuss how each of these techniques can set the stage for improving
the performance and outcomes of a health care organization.  Nurses are advancing into leaders by using these
techniques to supplement strategic planning. 

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SWOT Analysis

In order for a health care organization to
maintain optimal function, the promotion of change is continuously
necessary.  Within
the health care delivery system, there are several techniques that nurses can
use to determine where changes need to be made. 
A SWOT analysis is a technique that involves an assessment of strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities and threats within an organization (Harrison, 2010).

strategic planning process is developed from a SWOT analysis (Harrison, 2010).  When a nurse begins to plan strategically,
this entails organization, adjustment and management to strengthen operations
within the healthcare organization (Nelson-Brantley
& Ford, 2017).  Due to an
ever-changing environment within a health care delivery system, a SWOT analysis
is used to organize in-depth data findings into four categories: strengths,
weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  A technique known as force field analysis can
then be used to supplement the SWOT analysis findings (Harrison, 2010).

Field Analysis

A force field analysis promotes change in a
healthcare organization by taking a SWOT analysis a step further (Harrison, 2010).  This technique works by identifying the
forces that drive the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  The first way that the force can be
identified is as a positive driving force that is helpful at advancing a health
care organization,
toward goal achievement.  The second way
that a force can be identified is as a negative driving force that hinders change within an organization (Harrison, 2010).  When the driving forces are identified
as either positive or negative, a health care organization can begin the
strategic planning process to promote change. 
This process includes the development strategies to minimize the
negative driving forces, while strengthening the positive driving forces (Harrison, 2010). 


order to refine the quality of health care services, another technique that is
used to enhance the strategic planning process is a gap analysis (Harrison, 2010).  This technique helps identify where problems
exist within a health care delivery system. 
According to Harrison (2010), there is research that shows a significant
number of gaps, such as weak communication skills, lack of resources and poor
access to information.  These gaps are
the cause of low-quality health care delivery in today’s health care practice. 

gap analysis can be used to identify a health care organization’s lack of financial
resources.  Deficiencies will be brought
to the surface, such as the inability to purchase new equipment or hire
additional staff.  As a result of these
deficiencies, patients may experience excessive waiting times and be diagnosed
inaccurately, which can result in poor clinical outcomes.  A gap analysis dictates the changes that need
to be implemented in order to improve the quality of health care services (Harrison, 2010).

Analysis and Career Growth

In addition to promoting change within a health care
organization, a SWOT analysis can be used to help nurses examine their nursing career.  To advance your nursing career, a SWOT analysis
can be applied by evaluating your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats.  Nurses can use the SWOT analysis
to determine how the current internal and external factors in their life are
impacting their career advancement.  The
findings acquired with a SWOT analysis can be used to strategically plan ways
to turn any weakness into strengths and any threats into opportunities (Pearce,
2007).  Most importantly, a SWOT analysis
can help nurses figure out where they are now and where they want to be in the
future, in regards to their career.


As mentioned in Nelson-Brantley
& Ford (2017), “Organizational learning is the process of change in
thought and action, embedded in and affected by the institutions of the
organization” (p. 839).  This
process starts with a detailed analysis of the internal and external environment,
as well as the organization’s readiness for change.  In
order to have successful change, the current attitudes of nursing leaders and staff
need to be modified to emphasize the positive aspects of change (Nelson-Brantley & Ford, 2017).  “After analysis, nurse leaders must use
different styles of leadership to motivate, inspire and engage others in the
process” (Nelson-Brantley & Ford, 2017, p.
836).  It is up to nurse leaders to use a participative
management style, using the input from all of the staff members within the
organization to implement change (Nelson-Brantley
& Ford, 2017).

planning encourages consensus within
work groups, which helps to incorporate these positive changes within the
organization.  The SWOT analysis, force field analysis and gap analysis
techniques consider the concerns, needs, and goals of each participant,
as well as the organizational standards (Harrison,
2010).  With the use of these techniques, strategic planning is enhanced.  Health care organizations can determine where
changes need to be made to maintain optimal function, while continually making
adjustments (Harrison, 2010).

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