NUR 514 Discuss Some System Thinking Tools Nursing Leaders Can Apply To Increase Interprofessional Collaboration To Benefit Patient Outcomes Or Organizational Initiatives

Topic 1 DQ 2:Based on your experience, explain how systems thinking helps leaders to build strong interprofessional and organizational relationships. Discuss some system thinking tools nursing leaders can apply to increase interprofessional collaboration to benefit patient outcomes or organizational initiatives. Make sure to incorporate the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) competencies in your response

Based on my experience as a clinical nurse at a long-term acute care hospital, systems thinking would help build strong interprofessional relationships by realizing we are all working as a team to better the outcomes of our patients. When a team member (e.g., nurse) feels a lack of appreciation or communication is ignored or rejected, then the care provided to the patient is inadequate which decreased positive outcomes. According to Weberg et al. (2019) collateral relationships along with recognition of the necessity to treat, critical thinking, and accountability are required by individual leaders and are contingent in providing independent nursing care which corresponds with the interdisciplinary team in providing collaborative patient care. Without collaboration then the care provided to the patient is fragmented and inadequate. There are physical means to interact with interdisciplinary team members in the technological modern age, and by utilizing these digital tools, collaboration has become quicker and more effective (Weberg et al., 2019). The Inter Professional Education and Collaboration (IPEC) is another tool used to increase the knowledge of nurse leaders in order to enhance communication to deliver high quality patient care. A dominant requirement among the interprofessional team would be mutual respect which allows team members to feel a sense of gratification to working together with the mutual goal of providing high quality care (Arulappan et al., 2021). There are core competencies of collaborative practice which influence the nurse leader to successfully interact with the team which includes values and ethics, roles and responsibilities, teams and teamwork, and interprofessional communication (Doll et al., 2013, as cited in Arulappan et al., 2021).

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Arulappan, J., Matua, G. A., Alzaabi, O., Vincent, S. C., Jayapal, S. K., Sabei, S. D., & Seshan, V. (2021). Knowledge and readiness for inter professional education and collaborative practice among undergraduate nursing students in a Middle Eastern country – a pilot study. Nurse Education Today. 100, 104865.

Doll, J., Packard, K., Furze, J., Huggett, K., Kensen, G., Jorgensen, D., Wilken, M., Chalal, H., & Maiu, A. (2013). Reflections from an interprofessional education experience: Evidence for the core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 27, 194-196.

Weberg, D., Mangold, K., Porter-O’Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2019). Navigating the care network: creating the context for professional practice. In Leadership in nursing practice: Changing the landscape of health care (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning. ISBN-13: 9781284146530

Healthcare delivery is extensive and involves more activities besides regular patient-provider engagement. Due to its complex nature, health practitioners must understand how different systems are interconnected and how they can work together to optimize patient outcomes. Systems thinking is centered on the tenet that health care professionals are a part of a large system whose components must work together to achieve a shared goal.

Systems thinking helps leaders build strong interprofessional and organizational relationships in health practice by promoting interdependence between teams. As McNab et al. (2021) noted, adopting systems thinking implies exploring the characteristics of a system’s components and interconnecting them to improve understanding, interactions, and outcomes. From a leadership perspective, a systems approach is characterized by examining the strengths of complex systems and coupling the components that can work together to provide the best care possible. In exploring how systems work, Henry (2019) suggested that healthcare professionals must understand that they are part of complex, adaptive systems comprised of independent parts. However, these parts should work together efficiently for the entire system to work effectively. Leaders who understand the relationships between complex systems establish solid connections and support them to thrive, improving patient outcomes and achieving other crucial objectives.

Nursing leaders can use different system thinking tools to increase interprofessional collaboration. When thinking of interprofessional collaboration, nurse leaders should seek to improve four Interprofessional Education Collaborative competencies for collaborative practice: interprofessional communication, teams and teamwork, roles and responsibilities, and values and ethics for interprofessional practice (Brashers et al., 2019). Tools that are relevant to nursing practice include concept maps and tree diagrams. While concept mapping helps leaders improve teams’ critical thinking, tree diagrams demonstrate possible outcomes when various system components work together. Another valuable tool is the spider diagram, which can be used to visualize ideas and outcomes when organizing teams and predicting outcomes.


Brashers, V., Haizlip, J., & Owen, J. A. (2019). The ASPIRE Model: Grounding the IPEC core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice within a foundational framework. Journal of Interprofessional Care34(1):128-132.

Henry, T. A. (2019). Why you need to be a systems thinker in health care. American Medical Association.

McNab, D., McKay, J., Shorrock, S., Luty, S., & Bowie, P. (2020). Development and application of ‘systems thinking’ principles for quality improvement. BMJ Open Quality9(1), e000714.

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