Systems Theory

Systems Theory




Systems Theory


The movement of information and management of the same in modern healthcare facilities is increasingly becoming a challenge for healthcare professionals and mangers in these institutions. Information needs include high numbers of providers, evolving technologies, competition, and an enhanced level of ubiquity of information, which illustrates the complexities present in modern healthcare entities. In addition, it is important to note that the service delivery revolves around the movement of information from four specific quarter’s namely individual patients, the care providing teams, the organization, and the economic and political environment of the healthcare institutions.

Nursing staffing indicators are tasked with providing information towards development of strategies that would enhance service delivery to the patients. Such information ranges from services provided to clients, associated feedback from patients in healthcare facility, specific interventions, or treatment provided to clients and the respective financial charges, insurance information, costs of equipment and materials (Simpson, 2009). In the case, the various nursing staffing indicators used are deemed as inadequate towards providing information on staffing levels and more so the quality of services provided to clients.

Such nursing staffing indicators applied at the St. Johns Hopkins university Hospital include the patients’ needs, patient safety, standard time for each occupied bed, nurse patient ratio, nursing teams, the traits exhibited by different care recipients and care delivery environment (Simpson, 2009). This systems approach will provide a means towards understanding the various nursing staffing challenges faced by modern healthcare institutions and the appropriate strategies and metrics that can be used to provide accurate nursing staffing levels in a healthcare institution.

Some of the problems associated with nursing staffing include the effects on client safety, insufficiency of time provided with respect to attention and care to a single patient, fatigue in the work place, overtime increase, inadequate staffing, and short staffing of units, excess workloads, and extensive shifts (Simpson, 2009). Adequate staffing is important as it contributes to reduction in medication and intervention errors amongst nursing practitioners, decline in complications amongst patients, reduction in mortality levels, enhance levels of patient satisfaction, reduction of fatigue amongst nursing practitioners, decline in nursing burnout, enhanced levels of nursing retention, and improved satisfaction levels amongst staff. This has impeded the ability f the nursing practitioners to ensure high standards of safety and service delivery to the clients. In addition, it also affects the overall levels of positive outcomes after provision of interventions to the patients (Simpson, 2009).

Problem Definition

Concept Service
Inputs Number of nursing practitioners available for various shifts in the antenatal unit

Traits of patients and nurses,

Hiring of nurses

Throughput Nursing interventions,

physician services,

pharmaceutical services

Care delivery system

Environmental complexities within the antenatal/Perinatal unit

Output Patient turnover and  nurses or workforce turnover

Outcomes for patients

Systems as cycles of events Revenues, strategic goals and objectives as achieved in terms of quality services and interventions provided to patients
Negative feedback Client satisfaction, costs associated with service delivery, client safety, employee retention and safety


From the open system theory, a large hospital such as the St. John’s Hopkins is made up of a complex system that can be viewed as a highly energized input-output system. In addition, the entity is reliant on its supportive environment for continued inputs into the system and for sustainability and processing of such inputs as provided by patterns of recurrent activities and interactions between subsets of the system to result in outputs. In addition, the organization can be seen as a social system, given that it involves the interactions between professionals and their clients.

The organization and its entire subset of systems move towards achieving a dynamic and sustainable rate that provides for regular movement of energy to ensure that the character of the system and subsequent disturbances ensure that the system readily adapts to changes prompted by the environment and new information or inputs absorbed. In this case, the system and the practitioners should readily provide information on client needs, which in turn should be used to ensure equitable, efficient, and effective delivery of services to the clients.

For the organization to ensure its survival in its field of operation, should counteract entropy that arises from the dissolution and disorder attributable to losses in inputs and the inability of the organization to ensure transformation of energies. In addition, adaptation of the organization is integral towards ensuring survival and can only be achieved by ensuring efficient movement of information and feedback from the environment of operations.

Desired Outcome

The desired outcomes include the need to ensure optimized client satisfaction; reduction of incidences such as error in medical interventions; effective hiring and retention of skilled workers and talent in the organization. In recognizing the inherent hierarchical nature of the organization, the entity should be able to ensure efficient operationalization of system by providing avenues for effective assimilation of information with respect to organizational needs. Nursing staffing levels have a significant effect on the ability of the organization to ensure optimized safety and client satisfaction levels for the entity. The negative feedback provided by clients and nursing practitioners in the organization should provide a direction to the organization.

Other informational signals should also ensure that the management tasked with directing the subsystems is able to ensure adequacy in terms of staffing levels of nursing practitioners and the associated levels of staff satisfaction with the working environment (Alligood & Marriner-Tomey, 2006). The primary aim is to ensure effective movement and execution of tasks and demands within the healthcare facilities that have a role in the overall contribution towards service delivery and patient outcomes in terms of success of medical interventions as delivered by the healthcare professionals.

Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives include the need to highlight the various problems encountered with respect to nursing practitioners staffing at the identified healthcare facility. This informs decision-making for managers in the facility as to the strategies that can be used to enhance hiring, retention and employee satisfaction strategies. It is important to note that there is in existence an intricate relationship between patient traits, clinical outcomes, and nursing interventions. The three illustrate the functionalities of the entire system with respect to service delivery to the patients.

The goals of evaluating the nursing staffing levels are centered on enhancing the ability of the church to enhance service delivery. In addition, the functional, cognitive, and mental health status of patients is also reliant on the nursing interventions used. In this case, the use of technology is seen as having significant impact on enhanced provision of care to patients (Alligood & Marriner-Tomey, 2006). Furthermore, streamlining activities within the healthcare facilities would ensure minimal errors relative to nursing interventions and provision of care to the patients.

Professional Standards

Adequate nursing staffing is important and a primary mandate for modern health facilities as it provides means of ensuring quality and delivery of healthcare services to patients. Based on the American Nurses Association (ANA) provides adequate standards and guidelines for staffing of nurses in Perinatal units in healthcare facilities (Schofield, 2009). Adequate staffing is imperative as it ensures safe nursing for mothers expecting children and more so for infants. It is also important to note that staffing demands in perinatal units in this hospital are dynamic and relative to the different types of patients possessing varied clinical situations and characteristics as encountered by healthcare professionals.

It is important to note that some units within the hospital may demand a higher number of nursing professionals and other healthcare staff to ensure efficient service delivery, and reduction of levels of mortality. Thus, it is important to rely on movement of strategic information towards the development of an effective nursing plan (Schofield, 2009). This ensures that the entity is able to forecast and meet immediate and unprecedented needs for additional healthcare professionals in various units within the healthcare facility. In addition, the entity is driven towards optimizing the outcomes of interventions, patient safety, and service delivery to the clients.

Proposed Resolution

The organization should undertake investments in terms of acquisition of information systems management as a means of evaluating trends in terms of labor needs, patient outcomes, and movement of clients into the hospital for a balanced approach towards service delivery. In addition, this would also provide the entity with a means of ensuring client satisfaction and safety with respect to medical interventions (Bregman & White, 2011). The organization should move towards development of efficient information systems that would provide a means of absorbing variety of input and throughput information towards deliberation on development of a strategic nursing staffing plan.

A nursing plan is relatively important for large modern healthcare facilities as it provides such entities with avenues for ensuring optimized efficiency in service delivery. Reducing the levels of mortality in perinatal units is relatively important as it ensures health for infants and their mothers. A nursing staffing plan would also enable reduction of stress, depression and improve the levels of employee satisfaction within the healthcare facility. This is relatively important for the healthcare facilities as enhanced levels of employee satisfaction are relatively important towards ensured patient safety and positive environment in the facility to aid patients in recovery (Alligood & Marriner-Tomey, 2006). This has an important role in the overall levels of outcomes resulting of the interventions and styles of care used by healthcare professionals.

Adoption of electronic documentation would also enhance service delivery as it provides for efficient and swift movement of new information into the system. This also provides feedback as to the availability of bed space, quality, and extent of care to provided, complications and avenues for sourcing of feedback from the patients (Alligood & Marriner-Tomey, 2006). The plan should also be formed with respect to the contributions by all affected employees such that they are able to provide insights as to the appropriate strategies that should be used to delegate, distribute, and control all duties and responsibilities provided to the employees within this unit.



Alligood, M. R., & Marriner-Tomey, A. (2006). Nursing theory: Utilization & application. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier.

Bregman, O. C., & White, C. M. (2011). Bringing systems thinking to life: Expanding the horizons for bowen family systems theory. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Page, A. (2004). Keeping patients safe: transforming the work environment for nurses and patient safety. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

Schofield, L.M. (2009). Perinatal staffing and the nursing shortage: challenges and principle based strategies… Washington, DC: Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN Practice Monograph).

Simpson, K.R. (2009). Safe nurse staffing for contemporary nursing practice. MCN The American Journal of Material Child Nursing, 34 (6): 396.




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