Mercy Hospital, the Vice President of Nursing Case Study

Pages: 6 (1795 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Health - Nursing

¶ … Mercy Hospital, the Vice President of Nursing Services, Helene Swenson, is driven to such distraction by her conflict with two colleagues that she believes there is no alternative but to resign. Not wanting to accept this, the President has asked her for a chance to remedy the situation. The conflict is the main cause for the persistence of other related problems at the hospital as well: an acute nursing shortage, a lack of professional quality, scheduling problems, and other administrative difficulties. As will be seen, it is recommended that a teamwork paradigm be implemented rather than the existing individualized work paradigm. Teamwork will enable personnel to empathize and better understand the viewpoints of others.

Background of the Case

The case concerns personnel difficulties at Mercy hospital, particularly as experienced by Helene Swenson, the Vice President of Nursing Services. Although the hospital is advertised as one with excellent personnel, services, and education programs, the reality of interpersonal difficulties is fast undermining this idea. The problems have escalated to a point where Swenson has decided to resign from her post as Vice President.

At its basis, the problems relate to Swenson's relationship with the vice president and associate vice president of Human Resources, Frank Samuels and Michael Ryan. She has experienced severe clashes with these colleagues. Her relationship with Michael Ryan is for example marked by difficulties in terms of management issues; Swenson is experiencing severe difficulties in managing the administrative side of her duties at the different hospital departments under her command. Ryan appears to be unwilling to help her with issues relating to problems like scheduling and other time management problems.

With Frank Samuels, Swenson's problems relate to recruitment and other personnel management issues. Samuels appears to interfere with duties that are rightfully hers. He refuses to let her use her considerable expertise to make personnel decisions that are both time- and cost-effective. He also shows resentment whenever she makes recruitment decisions that he does not agree with. He is also inefficient with completing time-sensitive duties such as compiling a recruitment handbook, which further interferes with the efficiency of Swenson's job. The fact that Samuels is often inefficient in performing his duties also interferes with Swenson's professional image; something that has made her feel resentful and even angry.

Because of these issues, Swenson is often obliged to accompany both Ryan and Samuels to enlist David Chadwick's help in mediating and resolving the issues that arise because of basic conflicts. This is destructive in terms of both time and efficiency; costs that the hospital in its current state can hardly afford.

Finally, although Chadwick is generally open to listen to Swenson's complaints, his tendency is to side with Ryan and Samuels; particularly in the case of Samuels. Although he can hardly ignore the inefficiency of Samuels, Chadwick appears to attach great importance to the duties that he assigns to personnel members. This seems to dilute his judgment when it comes to Swenson's complaints and problems.

Problems and Major Issues

As mentioned, Helene Swenson's main problems concern her relationships with Frank Samuels and Michael Ryan. From her point-of-view, these colleagues make it next to impossible for her to perform her work efficiently or effectively. Because of the barriers they represent, Swenson is unable to provide the hospital with the resources it needs to validate its image as advertised.

Specifically, the major primary and secondary problems can be explicated in the following way:

1) Michael Ryan is to assist Swenson with her administrative duties. However, he appears either unwilling or unable to help her effectively as far as problems within his departments are concerned. When she however approaches him about problems in her own departments, he is efficient and helpful. It appears that he has a very possessive or protective attitude towards his own departments; he is unwilling to admit to inefficiencies in these. This is a major issue and leads to several secondary problems:

Scheduling is a major problem for Swenson. There is a very large amount of paperwork required for every administrative function. This is not only time-consuming, but also inefficient, as Swenson has very little access to information that would help her schedule workloads. As a result, the amount of nurses during both day and night schedules appear unable to meet the demand.

Another secondary issue is the fact that dieticians take a long time to supply meals to newly admitted patients. This is a gesture that nurses like to make to feel patients welcome and at home in the hospital. In this, there is a significant lack of coordination among the nursing department, the dieticians, and physicians overseeing each case. This is one of the issues that Swenson has had difficulty in raising effectively with Ryan.

2) Frank Samuels is involved in recruitment, personnel and related issues. His personality type appears to require control. He appears unwilling or unable to provide Swenson with the authority she needs to conduct her work in an efficient manner. Chadwick appointed Swenson for her expertise in nursing issues and her efficiency in running the nursing office. However, Samuels is proving to be a significant obstacle to this goal.

Specifically, a secondary issue arising from this is that the personnel problems experienced at the hospital remain: there is a significant shortage of good nurses, and very little professional discipline. Concomitantly with the scheduling problems mentioned above, this creates an environment in which patients do not receive the care that they need.

A further secondary issue relating to recruitment and personnel issues is that there are no educational programs offered to nurses at the hospital. Nurses are not provided with the latest in nursing research information, nor are they given the opportunity to integrate any such information into their work. This basic lack of research information and education programs could relate to their lack of motivation and professionalism as well. These issues are what causes Swenson assertion that there is neither anything at the hospital to attract new nurses, nor is there anything to make a patient feel that they are an important priority to personnel.

A further secondary problem is the payment discrepancies experienced. The new payment system implemented is not effective, as there have been several cases of payment discrepancies between what personnel believed they should be paid, and the salaries they receive. Approaching Samuels about this issue has had little effect and problems persisted, further resulting in a demotivated workforce.

A further secondary issue is the perpetual hostility between nurses and attending physicians. This undermines the quality of patient care at the hospital, and denotes a basic lack of coordination and personnel management.

In general, Swenson is unsure about how her relationship with these two colleagues should manifest. There are many uncertainties regarding her duties and powers within the various departments. The fact that both Ryan and Samuels appear to have issues with power distribution and decision-making makes it very difficult for Swenson to perform her duties effectively or efficiently. This in turn causes the problems at the hospital to persist.

Basically, there appears to be a lack of effective communication between Swenson and her two colleagues. The fact that she has good relationships with most of her other colleagues substantiates the fact that her issues with Ryan and Samuels are not her doing alone. Having a consultant to discuss and analyze the problems is a very good first step towards mitigating the problem. However, a sustainable approach needs to be implemented by means of which Swenson, Ryan and Samuels can function together in a cooperative way without have to defer to Chadwick for every problem situation.

The ideal goal of every hospital is to provide excellent patient care. Currently, Mercy is not meeting this goal because of internal conflict situation and a lack coordination among the departments and personnel members in charge.

Identifying Solutions and Recommendations

The basic and most significant problem is a lack of communication and coordination. These problems are the most significant, as they are the basic cause of all the other problems at Mercy Hospital. As such, the problems between Swenson and her two colleagues, Michael Ryan and Frank Samuels, need to enjoy priority attention. Second in order of priority is the lack of coordination among the various departments at the hospital. Although many of these problems can be resolved by proper communication, administration issues relating to coordination and scheduling also need to be specifically addressed.

Once coordination and scheduling problems have been addressed, nursing education and recruitment need to receive attention. It is important that these issues be handled on the basis of effective communication.

Berkeley's Guide to Human Resources provides several ideas on creating a platform for effective communication as opposed to the type of conflict experienced by Swenson an her colleagues. One of these is the fact that all personnel should view themselves as part of a team. Currently the paradigm and Mercy Hospital appears to be one of individualism rather than teamwork. Although this type of hostility is often a part… [END OF PREVIEW]

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