Today in many nursing departments in hospitals, and in other types of health service institutions that provide nursing, attention is given to the development of statements of “philosophy” and of objectives of the nursing department, consideration being thus given to the setting of very general standards to be met by the department. All too frequently such expressions have their roots in the convictions of the individuals who write the statements but have no roots in the specific characteristics of the population in need of nursing assistance. What 1 am suggesting is that these are good, but not good enough. They do not suffice as guidelines for delivery of nursing to populations served by the agency.
Ensuring the delivery of nursing on an agency-wide basis to the population served is a responsibility of nurses in executive positions within the agency. This responsibility cannot be fulfilled without coordinated effort with other executives and with nursing department staff who function at the operation level.
To establish an executive or administration frame of reference I shall enumerate the three functions of executives according to Barnard (1962).
This paper was originally presented at a series of workshops at the Catholic University of America,
Washington, DC, on July 24, 1969.