One of the most difficult things for nursing leadership to manage is change (Sherman, 2015). In our current climate, with the pandemic and social climate, change is happening at such a rapid pace that keeping up with it is becoming more and more difficult with each passing day.
The goal, of the nurse leader for their staff, the patients they care for, and the various healthcare professionals they inter-mingle with, must be to find effective ways to deal with the change to maintain a safe environment for the residents as well as maintaining a level of inter-professional collaboration that will decrease the chance of loss from their workforce.
The end-game of change, which is the success of the change, is directly hinged on how the process is managed, with the job of the nurse leader being critical, hands-on, and continuous, even after the change has occurred (Sherman, 2015). Before a nurse leader can be effective in championing change, they must be able to internalize the change and see the positives in it, so much so that they are able to personally manage how they feel about the negatives they may see related to the change, (Sherman, 2015).
They must be able to see the vision to the point where they can promote the changes, from the heart. Some of the things a nurse leader must be able to do, in the process of change, are to be able to promote the need for the change, be able to articulate the value of the change, make everyone a part of the change, to increase the value to their team, empower their team to be active in the change process, and to encourage and build their employees as they move into the end stages, of the change, and beyond (Sherman, 2015).
Change is never easy and especially within the healthcare environment. Major changes happen on multiple levels of the health care organizations, which means interpersonal communication, as well as inter-professional collaboration are critical to maintain the operation of providing for the care needs of the patients, while the whole apple cart of the organizational process is being overturned. I was a traveling nurse during a time when one of the major healthcare systems in the area was changing over to the EPIC electronic health record system.
The organization had to pay and house a large amount of traveling nurses to staff the floors while the staff nurses were learning. Outside information technologists were on the floors 24 hours a day to help the staff navigate the new system while trying to provide care.
The medical staff was strained as they had to learn how to put in their own orders instead of nursing or unit clerks doing it for them. It was an amazing beast to watch. I saw multiple professionals struggling to learn the system, but the organization continually pushed how amazing this was going to be for the organization, and the work they did to keep the staff excited worked! I actually became a staff member not long after and it was amazing to hear how much most of the staff felt the value was worth the trouble. As a nurse leader, in the midst of severe changes, I spend most of my time supporting my team and expressing how the changes that have occurred are what needed to happen for us to function as a better team.
Do I get annoyed and frustrated? YES! But I do not let my team see this. I remain the cheerleader as well as the facilitator/supporter, and the team is not only holding on, they are evolving and seeking the vision with me now. Change is going to happen, that is one thing that we can all count on. But the process of change greatly determines the emotions that are attached to the change. Reference: Sherman, R.O. (2015, August 20). Change management – A key leadership competency. Emerging RN Leader. https://www.emergingrnleader.com/change-management-a-key- leadership-competency/