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  1. Question
  2. Systems thinking allows a more holistic perspective on decision making. Share examples of the types of decisions that occur at the unit, department, and organizational levels of the organization. Describe the impact of those decisions vertically, horizontally, and system-wide. Describe the effect of the decisions at the individual system level as well as the impact throughout the organization.



Subject Nursing Pages 4 Style APA


Application of Systems Thinking in a Healthcare Organization

            Systems thinking is an approach in which one attempts to understand how things or processes influence one another within a given system. Systems thinking is a core competency in health sciences and medicine as well as the cornerstone of systems-based practice (Plack et al., 2018).  Hospital is the system of focus in this essay. At the unit level, systems thinking make a transformational leader to have clearly stipulated roles for each unit member while at the same time stressing on the need of collaborative practice.  Vertically, this decision will promote sharing of leadership roles and better communication among unit members. Horizontally, well shared roles within a culture of collaborative practice will help reduce cases or the risk of nurse burnouts. System-wide impact is that the decision will improve efficiency of the units as a whole since each member will be playing a unique role in the unit. At the individual level, sharing of roles will promote achievement of job satisfaction since the risk of job fatigue and burnouts will be low (Trivellas et al., 2015). At the organizational level, sharing of roles in all units makes the organization to identify staff shortages as well as to remove redundant employees.

At the department level systems makes leaders to transform the blame culture to a positive experience where others learn about the mistakes of other to avoid them in the future. Vertically, this makes healthcare professionals to easily seek help and guidance from their superiors as well as to reports mistakes or errors to their superiors to help inform future decisions. Horizontally, elimination of the blame culture makes co-workers to ask for help and support from one another thus promotion the spirit of cooperation and collaboration. At system-wide level the organization may easily be transformed into an organization that provides safer and higher quality care when past mistakes inform preventive strategies or various improvement strategies. Systems thinking acknowledge the nature of human error is innate (Sud & Szawarski, 2018). At the individual level, elimination of blame culture makes individuals to learn on how to do things rights in areas they are incompetent in to avoid repetition of similar errors or mistakes. This approach will promote the culture of safety throughout the organization through embracement of the learning culture.  in mental health settings, fear of blame is attributed to continuous use of restrictive practice regardless of harms associated with the practice (Muir-Cochrane, O`Kane, & Oster, 2018). The focus of systems approach is to introduce system defenses to mitigate errors and to avid active failures before they cause harm (Sud & Szawarski, 2018).

Systems thinking influence organizational leaders to implement safe staffing ratios across all departments and units. Safe staffing ratios will promote individual satisfaction with the workplace vertically and better collaboration among different multidisciplinary teams horizontally since each employee may have enough time to help each other or to collaborate. The system-wide impact is that safe staffing ratios will promote the culture of patient safety and better retention of nurses in a given organization (Griffiths et al., 2018).  At the individual level, implementation of safe staffing ratios may improve the intention to stay in the organization due to low risk of burnout. On the other hand, an organization may incur more costs in salary and staff compensation expenses due to increased number of employees across the organization (Livanos, 2018). 



Griffiths, P., Recio-Saucedo, A.R., Dall`Ora, C., Briggs, J., Maruotti, A., et al. (2018). The association between nurse staffing and omissions in nursing care:  A systematic review. JAN, 74(7), 1474-1487.

Livanos, N. (2018). A broadening coalition: Patient safety enters the nurse-to-patient ratio debate. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 9(1), 68-70. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2155-8256(18)30056-5.

Muir-Cochrane, E., O`Kane, D., & Oster, O. (2018). Fear and blame in mental health nurses’ accounts of restrictive practices: Implications for the elimination of seclusion and restraint. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27(5), 1511-1521. https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12451

Plack, M.M., Goldman, E.F., Scott, A., Pintz, C., Hermann, D., Thompson, T., & Brundage, S.B. (2018). Systems thinking and systems-based practice across the health professions: An inquiry into definitions, teaching practices, and assessment. Journal of Teaching and Learning in Medicine, 30(3), 242-254. https://doi.org/10.1080/10401334.2017.1398654

Sud, A., & Szawarski, P. (2018). Classic cases revisited – death of a nurse and the anatomy of error. J Intensive Care Soc., 19(2), 155-160. DOI: 10.1177/1751143717735203.

Trivellas, P., Akrivouli, Z., Tsifora, E., & Tsoutsa, P. (2015). The impact of knowledge sharing culture on job satisfaction in accounting firms. The mediating effect of general competencies. Procedia Economics and Finance, 19, 238-247.



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