NR 501 Application of Theory Paper
NR 501 Application of Theory Paper
Nursing theories have a key role to play in shaping up the nursing practices. It helps the nursing professionals to understand the expectations and requirements from healthcare professionals in a better way. In other words, the nurses refer to theories to develop deeper understanding about their profession without making too many mistakes during experiments. Therefore, theory enables the practitioners to develop problem solving ability. Every nursing theory talks about one or more dimensions of the profession, including policy, leadership, advanced clinical practice, informatics, and training etc.
The demand-supply gap for qualified nurses has increased the workload of nurses currently working. This is leading to increasing cases of burnout amongst nurses. This paper will talk about a detailed approach based on Watson’s caring theory that can reduce the probability of burnout amongst and provide them with healthier and more effective environment for work. This paper will provide explanation to Watson’s theory, elaborate upon it along with a case study where a nursing professional was facing burnout, and, leverage the theory to address the issue. Last but not the least; we will make some suggestions to tackle the problem in the future.
The aim of care is to support the people in physical, psychological, or spiritual needs and improve their lives (Drahosova & Jarosova, 2016). Nursing practice blooms on the foundation of care. Therefore, nursing services are holistic in nature, provide patients with their urgent physical, psychological, and spiritual needs, and improves their morals (Ranheim et al., 2014).
According to Jean Watson’s theory of care, nurses should work towards nurturing strong interpersonal relationships with their patients and their families. Both the sides should also share their life experiences and learn from each other (Dudkiewicz, 2014). The theory has three key elements, i.e., ten carative processes, interpersonal relationships, and the time for care. Rina et al. (2015) use the theory to indicate that caring is an approach to establish connect with others (p. 8). So, a caring and responsible nurse would spend time to understand patients’ requirements and tender the most relevant and highest quality of services. They have a highly accepting attitude towards their patient (Rina et al., 2015). The theory believes in the need to bring the human values for providing high quality nursing services. This strong relationship with other nurses as well as patients helps in timely recovery of the patients. Moreover, the nurses would also be healthier and motivated.
Description of the Issue
As per the earlier information, this paper covers the issue of burnout amongst nurses and how it leads to shortage of workforce, as many young nurses leave the industry due to reduced morale. We will also study the role of a healthy work environment to reduce the burnout rates. The presence of nursing dealing with deteriorates the quality of work environment and makes it unhealthy. Therefore, all the members of ecosystem such as nurses, patients, employees, and leaders are severely impacted by it.
Burnout usually takes place due to excessive workload, physical, or metal fatigue and leads to depersonalization of patients, and low morale to serve the patients and their families. Subsequently, we witness below par performance at work, prolonged fatigue and illness that increases absenteeism, and increased rates of turnover. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing suggests, the shortage of qualified and experienced nurses by 2025 in the U.S. could be more than 260,000. This is the biggest talent shortage in the history of American nursing industry (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2018).
If the nurses are working in conditions that are below optimal, they would have higher probability to face burnout compared to when they work in healthy and safe environment. Nantsupawat et al. (2016) suggest that the work environment also has a strong influence on the patient outcomes. Various case studies where the patients were impacted due to wrong medication, infections, or falls were studied by the group. The cases also indicate that if we reduce the presence of factors that cause stress amongst nurses, the incidents of burnouts will also go down. The impact of this improvement will be visible upon parents with as much as 30% reduction in cases of infection) (Nantsupawat et al., 2016). Several empirical references suggest factors that influence the work environment and its impact up on nurse. For example, experienced and cooperative leadership, strong relationship between nurses and physicians, nursing values, and staff availability help in reducing the nurse burnout. Nurse Managers are responsible to develop a work environment that strengthens team bonding and spirits of individuals (Sorenson, 2016). Without the right leadership skills, the organization will continue to have nurse burnouts (Soernson, 2016).
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Nurses are an important part of the healthcare ecosystem and help the patients get right services. Their work is very challenging from physical as well as psychological point of view. So, their motivation level needs to be high in order to improve the quality of services provided by healthcare centers. With such healthy and motivating environment, the hospitals are able to easily retain their staff and be more effective in their patient services.
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) suggests six key dimensions that are important for
developing the right work environment at healthcare centers. These are:- recruitment of staff with right skills, leadership abilities, collaboration approach towards problem solving, communication skills, recognition for good work, and logical thinking (AACN, 2016). This study will cover three dimensions, i.e., staff with right skills, leadership abilities, and communication skills of the staff. Skilled and motivated staff enables the organization to support the service requirements of the patients in the best possible way. If the staff is not aptly skilled, the risk for patients as well as peers increases (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2018).
Nursing leaders have to be sensitive towards the need of a healthy and effective environment for work. Therefore, the leaders should be authentic in their decision making approach and involve nurses in making all the key decisions regarding patient care (AACN, 2016). According to Wong and Laschinger (2013), authentic leadership is fundamental to the development of a healthy work environment. Such Leaders would inspire nurses to be more committed to work and push for better patient related outcomes.
Good communication skills is as much important for nurses as clinical skills (AACN, 2016). Without this, there can be goof-ups in patient care and many unwanted results may come up (AACN, 2016). On the other hand, good communication skills helps the nurses to have stronger connect with the patients and their friends and family and receive better acceptance amongst the concerned stakeholders.
Application of Theory to Resolve Issue
Watson’s theory provides a framework that can suggest real solutions to enhance the quality of healthcare services and reduce the burnout rates amongst nurses. Shared governance approach is key to the development of a healthy and productive work environment. The theory urges for shared governance because it helps the healthcare organizations to provide the best quality of care to the patients. Moreover, when patient outcomes improve, the nurses also feel motivated and the chances for burnout are lesser.
As stated earlier, Watson believes that caring is the core job of nurses. This is one of seven base assumptions of the theory and enables leaders to address the issue of burnout amongst nurses. Nurses are also human beings and need care. If they do not get the right care, they will not be able to provide the best services to the patients. On the strategic level, we should know that the ten “carative” factors applied by nurses for better care of patients are equally applicable to them as well. Some of the “carative” factors have a visible positive influence on the morale of nurses. For example, the third carative talks about having sensitivity for self as well as others. By referring to it, the leadership can understand how to manage the workload with right staffing. They can also assess how this problem influences all the stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem, and make changes to stop or increase the influence. The fifth factor talks about the positive as well as negative expressions associated with a healthy communication. Therefore, the leaders need to accept both, as they aim to nurture an environment where honest and open communication prevails. This eases out the stress amongst nurses and they become more productive for the organization (Lowe, 2013). The nursing leaders should also look for deployment of a structured methodology in order to enhance the quality of decision-making. The sixth factor suggests that the nurses need to stay safe from emotions that they get into, while making decisions and draw them towards negative mindset. Watson’s Theory of Human Care may not provide direct short-term solutions to the challenge of burnout amongst nurses but it sets a guiding framework that leads towards the right actions, and eventually helps inn developing the desired environment at work to check the issue.
Shared governance simplifies the decision making process for nurses and the other healthcare staff (Ott & Ross, 2014). Values such as shared accountability, autonomy, experimental liberty, wellness, and equality come with shared governance. Thus, the interaction between nurse managers and the staff is more collaborative and effective. For implementing shared governance model, the nurse leaders need to take the first step. They are supposed to spread awareness about the model and the potential benefits arising out of it. This education and sensitization will improve the decision-making skills, communication, collaboration, and interpersonal relationships amongst team members. The three steps to change management process used by a nurse manager are:- introducing the right change, adjust the structure or implement a new one to support the new behaviors, and bring measures to sustain the new structure and behaviors. It is important to impart the feeling of responsibility and authority amongst nurses so that shared governance can be successfully implemented. This improves the patient outcomes as there is trust across team members and they jointly deal with the concerns of the patients (Lowe, 2013).
Burnout amongst nurses is a serious issue and needs a lot more research in the coming days. This research will identify the impact of shared governance on teamwork that helps in improving the mental as well as physical health of the patients and caretaker nurses. Watson’s theory guides the healthcare organizations to develop a transitional roadmap to implement standard governance a standard practice in order to reduce the burnout amongst nursing staff.
To successfully complete the transition, we also need the support infrastructure. The availability of this infrastructure makes it easy to start the shared governance model and improve the motivation level of nurses. Therefore, the team members can easily share information and support each other in the caregiving process. According to some studies, organizations, which are based on shared governance face lesser turnaround and better patient outcomes.
As discussed throughout the paper, a healthy work environment at healthcare centers benefits all the stakeholders including patients and their families, nurses, nurse leaders, and managers. This environment is developed by referring to some nursing theories that lay the roadmap. This paper explored the Watson’s theory of human care to motivate the nurses to deliver their best and to safeguard them against burnout. With this effort, we can ultimately expect the patient outcomes to improve. Shared governance is an important tool in this regard. It elevates the nurses to attain better communication skills, decision-making ability, and leadership role eventually. When the organization invests so much in nurses, they also stay committed and longer with the organization. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for nurses as well as the organization.
Ultimately, we can conclude that nursing theories provide the foundation upon which appropriate practices can be developed. Many healthcare organizations refer to the theory in order to evaluate their existing practices and to reduce burnout amongst nurses. If the nurses are satisfied and motivated to perform their job, their quality of services will be better. Therefore, the nursing leaders need to constantly vouch for the factors that influence the motivation level of the nurses (Rina et al., 2015).
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.aacn.nche.edu/media-relations/fact-sheets/nursing-shortage
American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. (2016). AACN standards for establishing and sustaining healthy work environments: A journey to excellence, 2nd edition. Retrieved from http://www.aacn.org/wd/hwe/docs/hwestandards.pdf
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