Flexibility: Be Adaptable
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
—W. Edwards Deming
Managers frequently lament that they need nurses who think critically, yet they fail to understand that nurses need the right environment to be able to be good critical thinkers. The use of critical thinking implies that the organization has the flexibility to change as circumstances do.
Nurses hesitate to make the independent decisions that are required by critical thinking because they have been reprimanded for doing so in the past. They have learned to hedge when faced with choices because their experiences have taught them that hedging is safer than taking a stand. This ingrained habit is difficult to break. The best way to change this situation is to support your clinical nurses consistently, coach them to make better decisions, and celebrate their successes with them.
Are policies, procedures, and protocols important? YES! But policies are black-and-white, and patient needs come in shades of gray. That is why we need competent professionals. We need nurses with good judgment and critical thinking skills to apply organizational policies to patient needs in a way that makes sense.