Disadvantages of SWOT Analysis in Nursing

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

SWOT analysis stands for: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The system evaluates issues collectively. When problems continue to arise, human resources and nurse managers try to find adequate solutions by utilising this evaluation system.

Because there are many outside factors in nursing, it can be difficult to assess all these areas properly and fairly.

Patient Individuality

Patient needs and desires differ drastically. Unlike other businesses, where success can be measured tangibly or by satisfaction of the customer, nursing requires that you not only please the patient but also the doctor, other clinicians and family members. What might be seen as a weakness, such as lengthy intervals at bedside decreasing effective time management, might be what one patient needs in order to understand what is going on. There is no way to adhere strictly to approaches from one case to the next.

Time Management vs. Accuracy vs. Immediacy

Time management is key in nursing but can be seen as a threat, weakness and strength simultaneously. While speed applies as a strength when caring for critical patients, a nurse might see it as a threat when it comes to dispensing medication. The checks and balances system laid out to protect patients comes in direct conflict with meeting the expedited requirements of certain critical patients. One nurse might take longer in doing a procedure, but the accuracy is often also greater. The SWOT system does not allow for a balanced and biased application of evaluation for such differences.

Lists vs. In-depth Examination

The SWOT system tends towards making lists in all the categories. In nursing it can be more practical to look at the overall workings of a whole system than just particular parts. Much like the need to look at the how the body's systems work together, the success of nursing practices requires examining the entire system. For example, if there is a breakdown in proper charting, the incoming shift might have issues with time management as the nurses investigate what happened the shift before. In a list situation, this might be seen as a particular shift being slower when, truthfully, the problem is in the proper charting of care.

Lack of Priorities in Evaluation

The SWOT analysis system does not allow for prioritising. While one thing might be a strength, it is weighted the same as a threat even if the threat might be much more problematic. Nursing is a career driven by prioritisation. Order of care must be put in order of importance; patients require prioritisation, and interventions must happen in a certain order. The system designed to make the program effective needs a way to weight more important issues in order to be effective at identifying and solving problems.