The realm of healthcare keeps evolving every day because of technological advancements that seek to enhance healthcare operations to ensure the overall satisfaction of the customers and better patient outcomes. As a result, there is integration of various forms of advanced technologies, which have ended up becoming the cornerstone to promote better quality healthcare services and optimize the efficiency of healthcare operations. In addition to these new innovations, the standardized perioperative data entry system in nursing is regarded as a more significant milestone seeking to revolutionize healthcare operations such as recording, accessing, and utilizing all critical patient information. Despite this benefit, the healthcare industry experiences significant challenges which hinder the implementation of such a system. A good example is the resistance of staff members, which results from the deep fear of change rooted among most healthcare providers. The resistance witnessed can be understood well by examining the existing approaches to leadership. This paper examines the integration of transformational leadership theory and the theory of self-determination to address the issue of resistance and facilitate a seamless adoption of a new information entry system within perioperative nursing.
Understanding the Resistance Expressed by Healthcare Providers
The resistance expressed by nurses due to the implementation of the new healthcare technology is challenging because of the intricate nature surrounding the patient care process (Talwar et al., 2020). The nurses may be afraid because of the complexities that the new system will present to the healthcare delivery process as they are used to structured and regulated frameworks that enhance the process of patient care and ensure the safety of the patients. Therefore, any disruption in this system could disrupt the whole process, resulting in medical errors that will affect patient outcomes.
The other cause for resistance is that this new technology would have resulted in ethical dilemmas and other concerns related to the safety of the patients, the security of information, and the appropriate use of advanced technologies (Shahbaz et al., 2019). This can be addressed through careful considerations, detailed and transparent communication approaches, and the establishment of significant ethical guidelines seeking to ensure there is a responsible adoption of this new technology. At the same time, the healthcare providers preserve the patients’ trust.
Theories Explaining the Resistance of Staff
One of the theories that can be used to explain the staff’s resistance is the transformational leadership theory. In this theory, the leaders motivate and inspire their subjects to foster shared commitment and vision so that the organization can achieve its goals (Bakker et al., 2022). This theory focuses more on the psychological aspects of leadership and emphasizes the importance of empowerment and inspiration. Transformational leadership is best defined by the character traits of the leader, such as intellectual stimulation, which involves stimulating the workers to constantly question the existing assumptions of the organization and the effectiveness of such beliefs. It also seeks to ensure that the workers explore diverse approaches to work and develop other new strategies and solutions to the everyday challenges experienced at the workplace. This trait ensures that the leaders stimulate creativity and innovation within the workforce, empower the workers to make correct decisions, and provide them with any support required to implement such decisions in the long run.
The other trait is individualized consideration, which involves demonstrating genuine concern for the needs of the workers and always coaching them through different issues and solutions that are likely to emerge at the workplace. Transformational leaders are known for consistently showing empathy, respect, and support for all workers and for recognizing the inputs of the entire workforce to ensure the company succeeds in the long run (Eliyana and Ma’arif, 2019). In addition, transformational leaders are always an inspiration to their subjects because they always state and reinforce the goal and vision of the company. They also ensure that the employees are connected to the goals and values of the organization, and that enhances commitment and optimism to ensure the goals and vision of the organization are achieved through appropriate behaviors.
The other theory is that of self-determination, which focuses on the intrinsic motivations of individuals. The idea highlights competence, relatedness, and autonomy as the significant drivers of change (Bhavsar et al., 2020). Furthermore, the theory emphasizes the significance of having an inward personal drive and self-motivation in agreeing with and implementing any new technologies.
Overcoming Staff Resistance
Transformational Leadership as an Inspiration for Change
Transformational leadership is regarded as one of the most effective approaches to ensure positive behaviors within an organization. Such is attributed to the fact that leadership behavior affects the overall well-being of the workers. Therefore, the transformational leader can inspire the workers by creating a compelling vision (Bakker et al., 2022). For example, in this case, the vision could be centered around revolutionizing the safety of patients and always ensuring that they experience seamless care because of the integration of this new technology. Through regular articulation of this vision to the workforce, they may have a broader perspective of the purpose of such a change in the organization, and that will help in mitigating the resistance witnessed during its implementation. The transformational leader can also provide the workforce with intellectual stimulation by regularly encouraging the workers to think innovatively and adopt effective techniques to address any challenge in delivering healthcare services for the best outcomes. Such forms of encouragement foster an environment and culture where the status quo can be questioned, and details on any change are clarified to eliminate any misunderstanding that could result in a conflict at the workplace. This approach will also enhance the workers’ confidence and reduce their resistance to this new technology.
Transformational leadership allows the leader to adopt an individualized consideration approach to the concerns of the workers because such leaders understand the fact that every worker is unique and has different opinions towards emerging issues. Therefore, such a leader, in this case, will ensure that there is a one-on-one engagement and detailed discussion between the top management, relevant stakeholders, and the workforce to clarify the challenging concepts that are related to this new technology. Also, such a leader actively listens to the apprehensions and addresses all of the concerns and fears of the workers while respecting their concerns (Islam et al., 2021). This allows them to be closer to the workers and also develop an environment that is supportive of the workers, ensuring that they feel valued and that their opinions are heard. Also, a transformational leader will be a role model to the workers because they always lead by example. That means they will be at the forefront of adopting this new technology as enthusiasts and demonstrating to the other workers the benefits of it and how it is likely to revolutionize the delivery of healthcare services. Such forms of shared responsibility will encourage the staff to follow suit, reducing the resistance as they will be witnessing the active participation of leaders in the process of change.
Fostering Intrinsic Motivation Within the Workforce Using the Self Determination Theory
The self-determination theory advocates for a greater level of autonomy for the workers to ensure the workers have some level of ownership in their work. The leadership can empower the staff by involving them in decision-making concerning this new system (Hagger et al., 2020). This will allow them to customize their flow of work and have control over this new technology to enhance patient outcomes. The theory also advocates for competence within the workforce, which can be achieved through the provision of regular comprehensive and intense training which are tailored to nurture specific skills that are useful in operating the new system. Furthermore, the management can offer nurses regular feedback and positive reinforcements to ensure that their competence and confidence are enhanced as they use this new information entry system (Hagger et al., 2020). Additionally, the self-determination theory advocates for relatedness, which can be achieved by developing supportive teams and environments where the workers can collaborate and assist one another in using the new system. The leadership can promote this by encouraging meaningful teamwork and social interaction, which results in some sense of belonging among the workers and motivation for them to use the system.
Integration of Strategies of Communication
The management needs to establish apparent channels of communication that address the workforce’s concerns with excellent transparency. The leadership should also ensure honest updates on the implementation progress and eliminate all the misconceptions and rumors before things go out of hand (Arnold and Boggs., 2019). The other approach is that the management needs to implement a mechanism of feedback that allows the nurses to openly express their concerns and also give suggestions on what can be done to ensure efficiency in operation. The system should incorporate active listening and allow for any adjustments, as that is a demonstration of responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the workers.
Leadership Development Plan
Skill Development through Training Programs
This involves the development of a comprehensive training curriculum that incorporates various learning approaches to address the different needs of the nurses. The management should also organize online resources, one-on-one training sessions, and workshops, which ensure the staff is competent and confident in how they use this new system (Khan et al., 2020). This approach will foster individualized consideration as it will ensure the nurses address their fears and concerns about the new system.
Organizing hands-on workshops where the workers will be trained on the new technology and the benefits of implementation will be beneficial as the workers will acquire the required skills to enhance their performance while using the system. It will also ensure the development of a strong workforce because the workers will have the desired skills, which will ensure that the overall goals of the organization are met (Top et al., 2020). The workshops will also ensure that the employees are motivated and engaged at all times, enhancing their creativity, innovation capacity, and willingness to own this new project and the benefits it will bring to the organization in the long run. In addition, the training workshops will promote the competitive advantage of the organization by bridging the technological and learning gap, which affects the operations of the organization. The workshops will ensure the workers are equipped with the right skills that align with the compelling vision of the organization about this new project.
In addition, the management should ensure that there are simulation exercises that showcase the features of this new system and encourage the nurses to brainstorm on the impacts of technology and how it can enhance the flow of work within the medical facility. During the simulation, the workers can be encouraged to devise some innovative techniques for using the application for preoperative assessments, and that will ensure that they engage with the available technologies in depth (Islam et al., 2021). This approach will be beneficial to this organization, especially now that it faces complexities and uncertainty, as it will break the barrier to the adoption of this new technology. This will enhance the workers’ performance and ensure better health outcomes. It will also improve the agility and resilience of the workers, increase their level of engagement, and promote retention, diversity, and collaboration. The simulations will ensure the workforce develops a growth mindset and reduce the frustration of the new and unfamiliar technology.
The management will assign various experienced staff and mentors the role of supporting their peers. This will encourage a culture where knowledge and experience are shared, and there is mutual support without judgment, and that fosters a collaborative learning environment (Pelin and Ayise., 2019). Mentorship programs accord mentees an opportunity to gain practical insight and knowledge from seasoned employees who have achieved a greater level of expertise in using the new system. Therefore, the mentors will expand their repertoire of skills and professional knowledge by instructing and facilitating the other staff. The organization will also have a chance to disseminate and develop the talent, knowledge, and abilities of the workers. The nurses who are mentees in this case will benefit significantly because they will receive the support and guidance required from a respected senior officer. It is also an opportunity to develop professional opportunities, and that will ensure that they have greater confidence while using the new technology (Pelin and Ayise., 2019). There will also be more excellent institutional knowledge and understanding of the navigating keys of the new system, more awareness of the approaches to work, and the development of a network of colleagues with expanded knowledge of how they can use the system to enhance operations within the organization.
The sessions will also benefit the mentor as they will provide him with greater satisfaction and fulfillment in assisting their peers and contributing to their development. It will also ensure that the mentor supports the development and use of various key competencies, which result in the organization’s growth. In addition, mentorship programs are beneficial to the organization as they facilitate the development and growth of other leaders who have higher potential (Olorunfemi et al., 2019). It is also a demonstration of the vivid commitment of the organization’s leadership in developing the staff and ensuring a culture of continuous learning. Additionally, it fosters a diverse, collaborative, and highly inclusive work environment.
Leadership Support and Availability
The leaders will demonstrate active involvement and support through participation in training sessions and directly addressing the concerns of the staff (Bakker et al., 2020). There will also be implementation of a Hotline, which will operate 24 hrs. to ensure that the nurses receive assistance on system-related queries with immediate effect. For example, suppose Nurse B in the facility experiences some discomfort with the digital platforms. Yet, she has received personalized training that focuses on the basic functionalities of this new technology. Nurse C is familiar and proficient with the technology yet participates in other advanced modules to ensure optimization and efficiency in the flow of work. In that case, this approach will ensure that both of these nurses feel valued and supported in their unique journey of learning. Through maintaining a visible presence, the healthcare leaders get to reinforce the confidence of the other nurses in the successful implementation of the new information entry system.
Furthermore, the senior nursing leaders can equally participate actively in the workshops and training sessions by showcasing their level of proficiency in system utilization. They can also share some success stories with their subjects on the impacts of technological adoption while emphasizing how various technologies have streamlined administrative tasks in healthcare organizations and allowed the workers to focus more on patient care for better outcomes (Top et al., 2020). A good example is having the head nurse lead a training session where she demonstrates the use of the system to track the progress of patient recovery, allocate the required resources such as medications, and monitor the progress of patient treatment. This will inspire the other nurses to engage with this technology because it enhances managerial roles actively.
Establishment of a Recognition and Rewards Systems
There will be implementation of a reward system that acknowledges the proficiency of the workers and their innovative utilization of this new system. This will be achieved through the performance of a monthly reward for nurses who use the system efficiently and for those who assist their colleagues in navigating through any challenges while using the system to enhance patient care. By celebrating the achievements of the workers publicly whenever there are departmental meetings, the leader will emphasize the positive impacts of this new technology on patient outcomes and how it enhances the flow of work (Top et al., 2020). It will also ensure the nurses are always motivated to use the system as it provides the best patient outcomes. A good example is Nurse Y receiving an award for developing a customized checklist in the design, which seeks to ensure a comprehensive preoperative assessment of the patients. Such an achievement will promote the safety of the patients and also inspire the other nurses to explore further the innovative techniques of using this new technology. This approach will foster some sense of motivation and pride within the workforce, encouraging them to do their best at all times.
Implementation of Initiatives that seek to ensure Continuous Leadership Improvement
The leadership should constantly assess the effectiveness of the existing training programs through evaluations and surveys. The feedback can be used to refine the existing training modules and to address particular challenges experienced by the workers while ensuring continuous improvement (Khan et al., 2020). One of the improvements would be the development of supportive coalitions such as the coalition of digital champions. The teams will have various nurses who have successfully integrated the system into their practice to mentor the other nurses with challenges integrating the new system. It is also essential to have multiple peer support groups that allow the champions to regularly share their experiences and any troubleshooting challenges experienced while using the system (Khan et al., 2020). A good example is Nurse A, who is a digital champion in the facility, who gets to share her success story while in a staff meeting explaining the mobile functions of the system, which allowed her to gain access to required patient data, leading to timely medical intervention, preventing a likely complication. Such a story could resonate well with peers, causing them to be motivated to adopt the technology.
Also, improvements in the leadership structure will go a long way if the nurse leader is a role model to all juniors and ensures the junior nurses respect the existing chains of command. This can be achieved by explaining to the workers the organization’s structure so that everyone in the company knows whom they need to report to should they experience challenges during any project implementation phase. The leader should also respect the chain of command, and the subjects will follow suit as they look up to them as role models (Bakker et al., 2022). Also, the leader should ensure that any emerging conflict is resolved as soon as possible to provide the best outcomes. Therefore, the leader should always arbitrate whenever there is a conflict to eliminate the likelihood of disagreement from this project or among the workers. This will cause the workers to view the leader as considerate of their welfare and the organization’s progress. It will also encourage them to embrace the challenges posed by this new project so that the organization remains intact.
In conclusion, resistance to change is a common aspect in different organizations as most workers prefer to maintain the status quo, lack trust and confidence in the leader who is championing the change, or the organization could have ineffective communication systems, which create conflict because of misunderstanding. In this case, the resistance exhibited towards the new system could be addressed by tailoring all the strategies of leadership to ensure that they meet the experiences and needs of the nursing team using the transformational and self-determination theories of leadership. Therefore, applying the principles of transformational leadership and self-determination in developing a leadership plan will ensure the implementation of initiatives to ensure continuous improvement of the leaders and establish a rewards and recognition system. It will also ensure there is support from mentors and the development of skills through various training programs.
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