Strategies for managing change in nursing

Updated April 17, 2017

Planned change in nursing is often implemented using a change theory. There are several change theories used in nursing, including Lewin's theory of change. Unfreezing, moving and refreezing are the three stages in Lewin's theory of change. They correspond to creating awareness about change, implementing it and making it permanent. To successfully implement change in nursing, the nurse leader incorporates each step of the change theory she has selected to bring about planned change.

Select a Change Theory

Evaluate your environment and determine what aspects of it need to be changed. Select a change theory that is appropriate for your change project. Keep in mind the time frame needed for your project and how easy or complicated it will be to explain when choosing a change theory. Write a plan for the implementation of your theory. Make sure your plan is divided into steps that can be done one after the other, based on your selected change theory.

Create Awareness

Make your staff nurses aware of the impending change and why it is needed. Do this by organising a staff meeting where this change will be announced. During this meeting, find out if there is any real or potential resistance to the proposed change, and make plans to reduce or eliminate it.

Manage Resistance

Resistance may be due to a variety of reasons. You can manage resistance by describing the benefits that change will bring. Inform the staff nurses that training will be provided if necessary for adaptation to the new change. Deal with resistance by addressing the underlying fear causing it.

Implement Your Plan

Gather all the resources you will need to implement your plan, and then implement it in stages as dictated by the change theory you selected.

Evaluate Changed Environment

Create a questionnaire for staff nurses and patients to fill out to gauge the effectiveness of the change that you have implemented. Determine if it has the desired effect or is it lacking in certain areas. Ensure the change is highly effective by taking steps to improve areas that need more work. After this, you can make the change permanent in your establishment by making it a policy or rule.

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About the Author

Ngozi Oguejiofo has been writing on a freelance basis since 2009 and most of her writings are focused on health. She is currently a registered nurse. She is interested in teaching, and writes articles focused on student nurses for various online publications.