LEADERSHIP IN HEALTHCARE 1
In the healthcare industry, changes take place continuously. Most ofthe practices used by the personnel are becoming dynamic, and theadoption of new procedures and equipment is almost becominginevitable. Leaders in healthcare are on the frontline of adoptingnew technology and implementing changes in training and humanresource development. However, this does not come without severalhitches that surface in the form of conflicts that have to be settledfor the efficient exploitation of the changes. Leaders, therefore,act as the change agents in the industry and they set the pace andforge a conducive environment that enhances a smooth, gradualtransition.
There are several change theories that are viable in the health careindustry. One of the common theories is the concept develop by KurtLewin. According to his model, change takes place in three stages.They include unfreezing, moving and refreezing (Payne, 2013). Duringunfreezing, the leaders observe the status quo of the workenvironment identify the existing gaps. The gaps act as the drivingforces for a change in the procedures or machinery. Leaders can alsouse the prevailing practices in the industries that increaseeffectiveness to juxtapose their situations and point out thenecessary changes (Payne, 2013).
During the moving phase, the leaders involve the primarystakeholders in implementing the change. The inclusion helps tosuppress opposition since the stakeholders own up the process. Italso facilitates an accelerated adoption of the new processes and apositive attitude to learning new procedures. During refreezing, thechange becomes permanent. Any issues raised by the users are settledduring this phase (Payne, 2013). The success of this phase depends onthe effectiveness of the activities during moving. By the end of thisphase, the change becomes permanent, and the institution starts toexperience positive feedback from its application.
Ronald Lippitt also identified change as an inevitable process innursing and the entire health care industry. Unlike Lewin, whosummarized the process of change, his concept for a transformedhealthcare takes four steps. He described the first phase asassessment. During this phase, the leaders conduct a survey toidentify the gaps that exist in the workplace. The leaders alsoassess the capacity of the workers and the institution for change.They also assess the availability of resources to support theprocess. Following a successful assessment, planning follows. Theleaders involve the stakeholders in planning for the change and laythe groundwork from easier adoption. People play different roles inthe change, and the stakeholders share responsibilities during thisphase. The new practices are consequently implemented, and evaluationfollows.
The health care is not averse to the conflicts that arise in allindustries. The major theory associated with the differences observedin the healthcare industry is the Marxist sociological theory.According to Karl Max, the inequality in resource distributionresults to some people accessing more services than others(Cockerham, 2014). The healthcare resource distribution may not beuniform to all the citizens. Some people may not have ease of accessto health facilities and professional help if they reside in lessendowed areas. It is a major cause of complaints since it encompassesthe responsibility of some stakeholders who must work together tomake the services available (Cockerham, 2014).
Wright Mills shares similar interests with Max and he provides thatsocial structures are created through a conflict between individualswith valid interests and resources. According to Mills, it results ina significant level of inequality in wealth distribution since theseare under the influence of what individuals see as best forthemselves (Cockerham, 2014). The limited nature of resources acts asthe limit for individuals to fully satisfy their health and otherwants. Therefore, the elite groups that can shape the direction ofpolicies may take the advantage to siphon most of the resources totheir regions.
In the health care, industry leaders are also change agents. They arethe first to see what others might perceive as appropriate for theindustry. Therefore, they may propose changes to make procedureseffective (Hayes, 2014). Besides, they are change agents since theyare the first to adopt changes, and they set the pace for the rest.During turmoil in the industry, they try to keep their groupstogether knowing that they hold the key to the breakthrough. If theyare the first to throw in the towel, the rest will lose their hope ofovercoming challenges.
The ability to handle conflict as a leader is a gateway for effectivedelivery of services in the industry. The prediction of conflicts adsolving them before they build up their intensity is an essentialattribute of a leader (Hayes, 2014). Conflicts are likely todismantle the cooperation that exists among workers and slow own theprocedures in institutions. Therefore, as a leader, solving theconflicts successfully prevents ineffective work practices, and allthe employees work towards the set objectives.
In conclusion, the health care industry makes continuous changes toimplement newly invented practices that are more effective than theconventional ones. Leaders use various theories including the Lewinand Lippitt concepts to implement the new practices. During suchprocesses, conflicts may arise, and they can slow down the activitiesand divert people from the set objectives. When leaders act as changeagents, they solve the conflicts before the conflicts intensify andthis helps in effective work practices.
Cockerham, W. C.(2014). Medical Sociology. New York, N.Y.: John Wiley &Sons, Ltd.
Hayes, J. (2014).The Theory and Practice of Change Management. Basingstoke:Palgrave Macmillan.
Payne, S. (2013).The Implementation of Electronic Clinical Documentation using Lewin`sChange Management Theory. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics,8(1-2).