Examining challenges in health care organizations

Systems Theory
As noted in the Learning Resources, systems theory provides a meaningful and beneficial
means of examining challenges in health care organizations. To do this effectively, however,
it is essential to assess all system components, as some may be relatively healthy while
others are problematic.
For this Assignment, you apply systems theory to the examination of a problem in a
department or a unit within a health care organization. (Note: You may use the same
problem you identified for the Discussion as long as it meets the criteria for this
Review the Meyer article, “Nursing Services Delivery Theory: An Open System
Approach,” in this week’s Learning Resources. Focus especially on the information
presented in Table 1 (p. 2831) and Figure 2 (p. 2833). you can get this on google
Reflect on your organization or one with which you are familiar. Within a particular
department or unit in this organization, identify a problem the staff is encountering.
Using Table 1 in the Meyer article as a guide, analyze the department or unit, identifying
inputs, throughput, output, cycles of events, and negative feedback. Consider whether the
problem you have selected relates to input, throughput, output, cycles of events, and/or
negative feedback.
Think about how you could address the problem: Consider what a desired outcome would
be, then formulate related goals and objectives, and translate those goals into policies and
Research professional standards that are pertinent to your identified problem.
Reflect on the organization’s mission statement and values. In addition, consider how
addressing this problem would uphold the mission and values, while improving the
organizational culture and climate. (Depending on the organization you have selected, you
may have explored these in the Week 1 Discussion.)
Write a 3- to 5-page paper that addresses the following:
Describe a department or unit within a health care organization using systems theory
terminology. Include a description of inputs, throughput, output, cycles of events, and
negative feedback.
Describe the problem you identified within the department or unit using an open- systems
approach, and state where the problem exists using the systems theory model (input,
throughput, output, cycles of events, or negative feedback).
Based on this information, explain how you would address the problem as follows:
Formulate a desired outcome.
Identify goals and objectives that would facilitate that outcome.
Translate those goals and objectives into policies and procedures for the department or
Describe relevant professional standards.
Explain how your proposed resolution to the problem would uphold the organization’s
mission and values and improve the culture and climate.


System theory

The administration department in a nursing care centre is a department concerned with
effective and efficiency of delivery of health care services. This is the department that has the
power to ensure that the nursing service delivery runs smoothly within the organization and also
identifies problems and provides solutions. The health care organization is seen as an open
system that consists of “energy transformations, a dynamic steady state, negative entropy, event
cycles, negative feedback, differentiation, integration, and coordination, and equifinality”
(Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010). There are factors that affect the provision of services in a
healthcare centre and they include input factors, throughput factors, and output factors. The
problem that is facing the administration department is the shortage of nurses within the care
centre leading to provision of inadequate nursing services to patients (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas,
2010).The quality of nursing care provided is also low quality because a very small number of
nurses are serving a very large population of patients. The workload is very big for the nurses
that are in the organization and this becomes very difficult for the administrative department to
ensure smooth delivery of services and quality care for patients. This shortage in staffing leads to
negative feedback in the system because the results that come as a result of the shortage in nurses
affect the smooth provision of health care (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010).
According to the open system theory, this problem exists in the administrative
department because the healthcare centre depends on the supporting environment in sustaining
its processes which are the input and these inputs through the recurring and patterned activities
and interactions of individuals bring forth outputs (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010). For
example, if there are no enough qualified nurses within the location of the healthcare centre, then
it is difficult to get enough number of nurses from other areas because the search for nurses

could be tasking. Therefore, generally if the numbers of qualified nurses are low, the health
centre will have an inadequacy of nurses. This is because it is a social institution that is likely to
be affected by whatever happens in the society (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010).

Addressing the problem

Through the use of the open system concepts, the problem can be addresses by seeking
funding and resources from other institutions (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010). In this way, the
inputs are used to improve the conditions in the healthcare centre by ensuring provision of
adequate funds that will enable the healthcare organization to hire more nurses. Through this, the
high numbers of patients can be handled by more nurses thus improving the quality of healthcare
provided (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010). The desired outcome will be increasing the number
of nurses which in turn leads to improved nursing care and improved working conditions since
the workload is reduced. The goals and objectives that would facilitate the outcome include
acquiring more donors so as to get more funds, increasing the number of nurses by at least five
nurses per month, conducting community education on preventable diseases so as to reduce the
occurrence of the diseases and thus being able to reduce the number of patients which is very
high (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010).
These goals and objectives are then translated into policies and procedures for the
department. The procedure that is going to be used in hiring nurses is advertising for nursing
posts in the healthcare centre and conducting interviews so as to increase the number of nurses
systematically. The policy to be put in place is engaging every family in community education
and this could include door-to-door education. The relevant professional standards will be a
degree in nursing (Meyer, & O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010). The standards are high so as to ensure
delivery of high quality services. The proposed resolution upholds the organization’s mission

and vision in that it ensures provision of high quality and the availability of healthcare to
patients. It improves the culture and climate by ensuring that both the workers and patients have
a good work environment and all the issues that are given by the patients are taken care of. This
ensures that the issue is resolved to satisfy both the nurses and the patients (Meyer, &
O’Brien‐Pallas, 2010).



Meyer, R. M., & O’Brien‐Pallas, L. L. (2010). Nursing services delivery theory: an open system
approach. Journal of advanced nursing, 66(12), 2828-2838.