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The structure of an organization can greatly affect the way its workers interpret their responsibilities, communicate with other employees, management, and clients, and think about their opportunities. Thus, an improper or outdated system of practices may negatively impact employees’ productivity and even health. A problem that exists in many healthcare establishments is staff burnout (Koy, Yunibhand, Angsuroch, & Fisher, 2015). The issue of nurses developing burnout that is characterized by emotional exhaustion and disengagement from their work is also present in the discussed clinical setting. Some nurses report becoming disinterested in their work and interaction with patients because of many reasons. It is crucial to address this issue at the organizational level to see whether some processes can be changed to reduce the severity of burnout and prevent its further development. For this purpose, a systems theory can be utilized as it examines the internal processes of a company and its connection to the outside world.
A Closed System Perspective
A closed system cannot respond to change quickly and is not flexible because of its rigid structure. In organizations with a closed system, communication between different levels of workers is linear, prohibiting employees from acting outside the officially established order (Marquis & Huston, 2017). Furthermore, here, autonomy and decision-making authority are given to a small number of managers, leaving all responsibility for change implementation to a small group of people. The discussed issue, staff burnout, is directly connected to these factors (Vargas, Cañadas, Aguayo, Fernández, & Emilia, 2014). Recently, the clinic’s speed of the admission process has slowed down, leaving nurses with less time to work with patients. Nurses unable to communicate their concerns with those individuals who could help them did not feel appreciated and respected at work. Therefore, the organization’s lack of feedback contributed to the pressure that they experienced every day. Moreover, as closed systems are often more concerned with the product than the procedure, nurses started thinking that they were not valuable employees but means of serving patients.
An Open System Perspective
An open system can be characterized by a high level of interactivity. An organization with an implemented open approach is flexible and adaptable. It delegates authority and has horizontal and vertical lines of communication where employees are encouraged to exchange feedback. The problem of nurse burnout can benefit from an open system strategy. Nurses, who currently cannot reach out to managers to speak about their issues, will be able to address the problems of not having enough time or having too many tasks by going directly to the person who is responsible for staff allocation (Manley, O’Keefe, Jackson, Pearce, & Smith, 2014). Moreover, as this system uses feedback from employees, nurses may discuss the problem of the slow admission process and present their data based on practical experience. For example, some new technology can be introduced and incorporated into the working process. The contribution from other stakeholders, namely patients, can also be taken into account.
Possible Outcomes to Change
As a result of implementing an open system into the discussed clinical setting, a number of changes can be expected. Nurses whose concerns will be addressed and discussed may be more comfortable in their working environment than before. The reducing rate of staff burnout, in turn, can lead to better performance, higher quality of care, and satisfied patients. Furthermore, an open system will allow the organization to consider other changes and receive feedback on every situation, improving the interaction between staff and management. The existence of a less structured way for information delivery can positively impact the working climate and bring more qualified nurses to the clinic.
Koy, V., Yunibhand, J., Angsuroch, Y., & Fisher, M. L. (2015). Relationship between nursing care quality, nurse staffing, nurse job satisfaction, nurse practice environment, and burnout: Literature review. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(8), 1825-1831.
Manley, K., O’Keefe, H., Jackson, C., Pearce, J., & Smith, S. (2014). A shared purpose framework to deliver person-centred, safe and effective care: Organisational transformation using practice development methodology. International Practice Development Journal, 4(1), 1-31. Web.
Marquis, B. L., & Huston, C. J. (2017). Leadership roles and management functions in nursing: Theory and application (9th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.
Vargas, C., Cañadas, G. A., Aguayo, R., Fernández, R., & Emilia, I. (2014). Which occupational risk factors are associated with burnout in nursing? A meta-analytic study. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 14(1), 28-38.