There is this thing in the quest for a B.S.N. degree called A.P.A. And while I could tell you what I think those letters actually stand for, the fact is that I am forced to use these insane rules of writing to produce much of my work. What would normally only take 15 minutes to compose takes me an hour when forced to uphold the constraints of the scholarly form.
I rather enjoyed writing my last assignment. Well, let me rephrase that, I enjoyed gaining the knowledge, rearranging the thoughts, and placing the words eloquently on the page. I did not, however, enjoy adding periods and parentheses on nearly every line of the page. I swear if it had been in red you’d have sworn someone would have been murdered on the page. Because it seems like scholarly papers are nothing but citations.
Our assignment was on theory application and how utilizing a nursing theory could help to improve what we felt was a problem or issue in our work setting. Since the recent changes at the hospital, including mandated uniforms and the elimination of a long-standing retention bonus, it has been noted that morale among nursing staff is certainly on the decline. Consequently, nurses are starting to look for work elsewhere, and well, to put it quite bluntly, they are dropping like flies. My department alone is losing 3 people in the next few weeks.
Since I tend to think out of the box, and honestly this lady’s theory is right up my alley, I choose to use Rosabeth M. Kanter’s theory of organizational systems. I know. I know. She isn’t a nursing theorist per se, but her ideas were the topic of so much nursing research and articles that I decided I should at least ask if I could use her.
Thankfully, my instructor is understanding of my out-of-the-box thinking and encouraged me to use the theory. The Structural Theory of Organizational Empowerment really is very relevant to the nursing profession. Kanter is a professor of business at Harvard and is often listed as one of the 50 most powerful women in the world. It makes sense, she meets with CEOs or huge corporations (like IBM) as a consultant to help them better manage their business. And as much as we may not like to admit, we all know that a hospital is ultimately a business.
The theory discusses the importance of ease of access to information and opportunity within an organization. Opportunity can be any number of things, but primarily the ability to grow in the organization. Systems of formal and nonformal leaders can develop and with increased transparency within an organization, nurses morale will show a positive correlation as well.
The ability to choose one’s own fate and make decisions that matter are important to us as human beings. Also, nurses greatly value their autonomy and it is so difficult when our leash is shortened even more when changes are brought down by the iron fist. Are we expected to use clinical judgment or constantly ask management for approval? Given the resources, and the choice, nurses will seek out their own answers and will be successful and consequently, the organizations who employ us will be successful.
Nurses are creative and adaptable individuals. We can accept change and grow with it. However, we need to be informed, respected, and above all valued. And if any of you hospital executives happen to read this, remember; actions speak louder than words.
Show nurses you value them. Empower nurses to provide good care for their patients.