In nursing, change theory describes several interrelated theories about how change might be implemented in the field. Each change theory interprets differently how these changes might be made based on a few core concepts.
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One core concept of change theory is the presence of a change agent, a person or procedure that is the catalyst for the change in nursing service procedure. This change agent can be an administrative professional, a staff nurse, a head nurse, a doctor or someone else who works with or around the nursing staff.
Driving and Resistant Forces
Kurt Lewin's change theory introduced the concepts of driving and resistant forces. Both of these forces can also be change agents, with the driving force being the person or circumstances that wish to bring about a change in procedure and the resistant force being those that are reluctant to accept the proposed change.
Other change theories in nursing take the core concepts of a change agent, a resistant and driving force and have alternative suggestions on how to implement the changes. Additional theories are known as Rogers', Lippitt's, Spradley's, Havelock's and Reddin's Change Theories.
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