14 December 2009

Complexity and nursing

A few years ago, I became intrigued with the application of complexity science principles to issues of health care and nursing. My curiosity was fueled after reading some of the Institute of Medicine’s Quality Series reports. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System for the 21st Century was of most interest. More importantly, one of the appendices of that book, authored by Paul Plsek, argued that the only hope of redesigning a 21st-century health care system rested in our understanding and application of complex adaptive systems science and principles to help augment our understanding of systems thinking and relationships of control, chaos and zones of complexity.

Since that time, I have joined a community of professionals who are dedicated to the application of complexity-inspired solutions to wicked, complex problems. The mission of the Plexus Institute is to “foster the health of individuals, families, communities and our natural environment by helping people use concepts emerging from the new science of complexity.” Over time, I have been committed to and involved in the Plexus Nursing Learning Network. You may want to explore the Plexus Web site and learn the Plexus story.

If you are new to complexity, explore and evaluate the resources available to you. Consider inviting some colleagues to discuss and evaluate ways to master complexity in action. More specifically, consider how you and a group of interested folks could begin to replicate some of the work being done by nursing colleagues around the globe. Also, consider how liberating structures and positive deviance are useful strategies and tools that will help you design a complexity science-inspired 21st-century health care system that makes a difference in nursing care.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership, published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International.