Your world will be different, and I can't teach you how
to solve the problems you will encounter. But I can
teach you how to think. If you know how to think, you
can solve any problem that comes your way.
—Fritz Bendel, 1955 (author's father)
Within every problem lie the seeds of opportunity. Sowing seeds of opportunity is important, but the course of this kind of change is not always even. New ideas often follow failure and need time to take root and grow. Our many health care challenges constitute important opportunities for all health care professionals.
We need nurses who are able to generate solutions to our challenges. Clinical staff members are well positioned to develop solutions because they see the problems firsthand. Health care executives without clinical experiences need the perspectives of clinical staff if they want to be effective leaders.
This chapter describes the process of transforming problems into opportunities by examining basic problem-solving strategies and suggesting how those strategies can be applied to health care. These strategies involve two main categories: managing thoughts and managing people. Most specific suggestions have elements of both.