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In medical practice, many doctors and nurses quite often face problems of resistance to change. These problems are of two types: external issues that are typical for physicians and internal that are characteristic for junior medical personnel. Sometimes, it is rather hard to avoid such difficulties since different factors influence their occurrence. These challenges arise periodically during medical practice, and management should take into account some measures so that the result of work would not depend on the internal and external contradictions of doctors and nurses.
Physicians’ External Challenges of Resistance to Change
Medical specialists have to adapt to various changes occurring in their professional practice quite often. If an employee is not ready to accept these changes, perhaps, the reason for it is the lack of interest in them, which may be caused by the fear of losing a position, money, and social status (Stanley, 2017). Also, some doctors refuse to participate in programs to improve the quality of medical care, arguing that they are quite satisfied with the current situation, and possible innovations can only exacerbate the state of the healthcare system.
According to Lockett, Currie, Finn, Martin, and Waring (2014), too rapid actions, as a rule, rarely lead to significant success and apparent changes in the activity of doctors. Before attempting to implement any new technology or system, management should discuss with the doctors whether they agree with a proposed strategy and are ready to take part in some improvement programs. As Crisp and Chen (2014) note, medical management should not act contrary to the wishes of medical personnel; otherwise, the resistance of physicians to particular changes will be inevitable even if new strategic decisions are relevant and useful.
Nurses’ Internal Challenges of Resistance to Change
One of the internal problems of nurses who resist innovation in the style of their work by any possible means is the fear of such innovations. It usually concerns those employees who are insecure about themselves and their skills (Iwasiw & Goldenberg, 2014). When a person experiences discomfort caused by the lack of professional skills or work experience, any changes may seem dangerous. If the process of implementing a new working method has not yet been studied, it can reflect problem points in the work of an employee.
Some nurses criticize active changes as they tend to lead to the development of chronic fatigue (McMillan & Perron, 2013). Certainly, the quality of the work of junior medical personnel directly affects the prestige of a particular healthcare institution and the overall treatment indicators. However, nurses’ curriculum, as it is known, is associated with constant stress and a significant workload. Additional duties in the form of studying a new course on improving the quality of work or participating in various refresher programs are often met with disapproval among the staff.
It is due to the fact that in addition to their work duties, nurses are forced to spend extra time and energy on studying additional useful methods and techniques, which causes increased fatigue. As Johansson, Åström, Kauffeldt, Helldin, and Carlström (2014) claim, management should correctly calculate the working hours of all employees and do everything possible so that the stuff’s training process does not interfere with the performance of their immediate duties.
Thus, despite the fact that the challenges of resistance to change arise in the practice of physicians and nurses quite often, it is possible to cope with them. Management plays a significant role in adapting employees to new programs. The implementation of any strategy and methodology should be accompanied by the consideration of the personal interests of workers but not only the desire to achieve the most efficient results.
Crisp, N., & Chen, L. (2014). Global supply of health professionals. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(10), 950-957.
Iwasiw, C. L., & Goldenberg, D. (2014). Curriculum development in nursing education (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Johansson, C., Åström, S., Kauffeldt, A., Helldin, L., & Carlström, E. (2014). Culture as a predictor of resistance to change: A study of competing values in a psychiatric nursing context. Health Policy, 114(2-3), 156-162.
Lockett, A., Currie, G., Finn, R., Martin, G., & Waring, J. (2014). The influence of social position on sensemaking about organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 57(4), 1102-1129.
McMillan, K., & Perron, A. (2013). Nurses amidst change: The concept of change fatigue offers an alternative perspective on organizational change. Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, 14(1), 26-32.
Stanley, D. (2017). Clinical leadership in nursing and healthcare: Values into action (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.