Increase in complexity of nursing practice is linked to the constantly changing nature of nursing practice. Additionally, the advancement in patient acuity also results in need for continuous change in nursing practice. Because of these changes, both nursing and non-nursing theories are increasingly being used in practice. An example of non-nursing theories is the Kurt Lewin’s theory of change. This theory asserts that change occurs in three key stages.
The first stage is the unfreezing stage where people move from the traditional thoughts and beginning comprehending the potential impacts of the proposed change. The first stage is also the point of overcoming the restraining forces of change (Deckelman, 2010).
The second stage is the movement phase. During this stage, there is transition in thoughts, behavior and perception towards those which are considered more productive.
The third phase, the refreezing phase encompasses consolidation of the change experienced into workable processes (Dennison, 2007). The key aspects included in the change process according to the Kurt Lewin’s theory include equilibrium, restraining forces and driving forces.
The driving forces in the change process perpetuate the desired change while the restraining forces negate the desirable change. Consequently, the conflict between the restraining and the driving forces results in the achievement of equilibrium in the change process. When equilibrium occurs, the restraining forces balance the driving forces. This implies that no change will be realized.
In practice, Kurt Lewin’s theory can be applied in the nursing practice through enhanced understanding of human behavior. Through this theory, managers can best identify driving and restraining forces in the change process and consequently reinforce the driving forces while suppressing the restraining forces. The unfreezing phase of change can then be realized this and the desired change steered towards steadiness through refreezing.
Deckelman, S. (2010). Collaboration of Nursing Faculty and College Administration in Creating Organizational Change, Nursing Education Perspectives, 31(6):211-259.
Dennison, R. (2007). A Medication Safety Education Program to Reduce the Risk of Harm Caused by Medication Errors. Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 38(4):176-184.
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