Provision of nursing services is a complex process that is dependent on a range of factors, both internal and external (Bragadóttir, Gunnarsdóttir & Ingason, 2014). Information management, however, is one of the key elements that the nursing process hinges on (Toromanovic, 2012). Unfortunately, the principles of information management that are currently used by nursing specialists leave much to be desired. In their article Nursing Services Delivery Theory: an open system approach, Raquel M. Meyer and Linda L. O’Brien-Pallas discuss the opportunities that the so-called open system approach (Meyer & O’Brien-Pallas, 2010) opens in front of nursing organizations, in which the principle of hand-off communication (Catalano, 2009) is established.
It is remarkable that the authors come up with an exact system of a healthcare organization functioning. According to the researchers, all the processes, facilities and resources can be identified and evaluated by applying the concepts of an input, an output, a throughput, systems as cycles of events and negative feedback to the healthcare facility in question.
The obvious strength of the research comes from its clarity. Meyer and O’Brien-Pallas nail down what is wrong with the present-day healthcare system rather well, provide their interpretation of a healthcare organization’s functioning and define the measures that need to be undertaken to address the issue.
However, the article also has its problems, the key one being its very general approach and a lack of focus on the related issues. To be more exact, the authors suggest that the process of information management must be reorganized; however, they do not mention that these changes are only possible once new principles of organizational behavior are introduced and the leadership style of the head of the company is changed (Marquis & Huston, 2012).
Nevertheless, the article provides a fairly decent overview of the problem and quite legitimate solutions. The research is, therefore, worth being viewed as a guide for improving the quality of healthcare services and the introduction of better information management principles into a healthcare company.
Speaking of a particular case that needs to be addressed, the problem concerning the lack of hand-off communication efficacy, which has recently been detected in the Cherrydale Health & Rehabilitation Center in Arlington, VA, should be brought up. According to the details of the case in point, nursing hand-off communication procedures were not done properly, which resulted in a range of minor accidents and still poses a threat to the health of the patients. As one can see easily, the problem is quite tangible, especially for a 60-bed long-term care facility. Indeed, applying the Systems Theory Model is enough to see that the currently adopted principle of hand-off communication affects the input–output process considerably. To be more exact, due to the inappropriate information management, particularly, data processing and distribution, as well as roles and responsibilities delegation, the quality of healthcare services has dropped significantly in the healthcare service in question. The throughput, in its turn, is carried out even less professionally, seeing how a large number of facts are obviously lost in the process of information transfer. As a result, cycles of events, or the provision of certain healthcare services are often left incomplete, which affects the quality of the patients’ treatment in a most drastic way. The feedback ranges from restrained to straightforwardly negative and shows graphically that the hand-off communication must be improved quite a few notches.
When it comes to the analysis of the problem, one must admit that the technical concerns are obviously not the issue here. Instead, the impossibility for the organization to view the problem from all perspectives and, therefore, eliminate all factors that enhance it (Marquis & Huston, 2012) deserves a mentioning. Consequently, it can be suggested that an open system approach should be used for every single process that is somehow related to the organization could be seen clearly. In many ways, this demands that the principles of knowledge sharing should be implemented within the organization. As it has been defined, the key problem of the department is not that the staff is reluctant to share specific data, but that they are quite irresponsible to the process of information distribution. Consequently, it will be necessary to reinvent the employees’ idea of their responsibilities and roles by making these responsibilities and roles more significant. Once realizing that what they do has a huge impact on the patients and the hospital’s reputation, the staff is likely to adopt a more acceptable behavior pattern (Marquis & Huston, 2012). Speaking of which, changing the organizational behavior is the next major step that must be taken in order to address the deplorable quality of the hand-off communication.
Therefore, reinventing the employees’ organizational behavior and enhancing their motivation, as well as working on the establishment of knowledge sharing principles into the department can be seen as the primary goal. As for the objectives, changing the currently adopted leadership style to the transformational one, creating a system of encouragements and incentives for employees, and promoting new ethic code among the employees should be viewed as the key points to aim at achieving.
Bragadóttir, H., Gunnarsdóttir, S. & Ingason, H. T. (2014). What the work of nurses really looks like: Identifying factors influencing the work of nurses in hospital. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Science, 3(1), 13–20.
Catalano, K. (2009). Hand-off communication does affect patient safety. Plastic Surgical Nursing, 29(4), 266–270.
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2012). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Meyer, R. M. & O’Brien-Pallas, L. L. (2010). Nursing Services Delivery Theory: an open system approach. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66(12), 2828–2838.
Toromanovic, S. (2012). Nursing information systems. Materia Socio Medica, 22(3), 168–174.