Jan 29, 2016

Change Management: Influencing change to health care best practices in 8 stages

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Time to change

The healthcare industry is in a state of constant change. Leading change management in the healthcare arena by having excellent efficiency, great productivity, and aligning with budget constraints can be a very challenging task. Leaders must keep in mind what all these changes look like from the nursing staff perspective. “Laying the ground work for change” (Loden 1999) outlines the project from many different perspectives and highlights how the leadership team communicates the vision to the work force in a controlled, organized fashion. By doing this, it engages the staff and assigns ownership to them to become involved and have the freedom to express their own ideas and offer suggestions. After all, they are the everyday “salt of the earth people” who help make the healthcare facilities successful. Their opinions count. The leadership team needs to recognize why it is important to include insights from every aspect of these projects, for successful team management.

“When leading a major change project, it is important for leaders to recognize that change process goes through stages and that each stage is important, and that each stage may require a significant amount of time” (Daft 2005). According to Daft there is an eight stage model of planned organizational change. This model is applicable to implementing the change that the operating room staff will experience while the project takes place. It’s not uncommon for these change processes to overlap, however each stage is important for permanent change to occur.

Daft(2) (2005) model:

Stage 1: Establish a sense of urgency
Stage 2: Form a powerful guiding coalition
Stage 3: Develop a compelling vision and strategy
Stage 4: Communicate the vision widely
Stage 5: Empower employees to act on the vision
Stage 6: Generate short term wins
Stage 7: Consolidate gains, create greater change
Stage 8: Institutionalize changes in the organizational culture

Daft also states, “Skipping stages or making critical mistakes at any stage can cause the change process to fail” reinforcing that each step along the way is of value.

The first step for creating a conducive environment requires crafting a vision statement and creating messages that reflect the shared vision and mission of the department. This shared vision of hopes, needs and common values can help create a strong collaborative effort between the employees and leadership team. This would assist with the change in the culture of the department staff by keeping the morale high and demonstrating that the leadership team is not just making these decisions without involving the people whom it affects the most.  The shared vison and the involvement of the staff helps everyone adjust to the change and implement tools to sustain it.  . One of the themes Loden(1) emphasizes is: “Laying the ground work for change” outlining the project from many different perspectives and then having the leadership team communicate the vision to the work place in a controlled, organized fashion. This model addresses all of the hurdles that would lie ahead for the leadership teams to overcome.

Change in healthcare is constant and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Having a well-defined process for leading change can make all the difference to the staff, the department, and the facility. What is your process for influencing change to improve patient outcomes through best practices?

Learn more about leading change through best practices and earn free CE credit.


  1. Loden, Marilyn. (1996). Implementing Diversity. Mcgraw-Hill, Boston Massachusetts
  2.  Daft, R. L. (2005). The leadership experience. (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.

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