Scientific management theory, as defined by Huber (2014), focuses on supervising by emphasizing task accomplishments instead of interpersonal relationships. In the context of healthcare, certain routines seem to be inefficient in terms of scientific management. These include the excessive focus on tasks, evaluations based solely on tasks accomplished, and the pressure on nurses to join committees and take on additional tasks.
One of the challenges faced by nurses is the overwhelming focus on completing tasks, which can sometimes hinder their ability to tend to the needs of their patients. As a result, their main priority becomes completing tasks to avoid any potential negative consequences. This inherent pressure can detract from the nurse-patient relationship and the overall quality of care provided.
Furthermore, nurses often find themselves burdened with an increasing workload as additional tasks are added to their responsibilities. This creates difficulties in completing everything on time, leading to incidental overtime. Incidental overtime is generally discouraged within healthcare settings, as it can disrupt work-life balance and contribute to burnout among nursing professionals.
Additionally, joining committees is often encouraged as a means of promoting shared governance and allowing nurses to participate in decision-making processes. However, the issue arises when the committee requirements encroach upon the time that nurses should be dedicating to their work or decompressing from the stress of their daily responsibilities. This can lead to additional strain and potentially compromise the quality of patient care.
In contrast to the challenges mentioned above, some examples of participative decision-making in the hospital setting include unit forums and shared governance councils. Unit forums provide a platform for nurses and aides within a specific unit to come together and discuss issues that they can resolve amongst themselves. This encourages collaboration and empowers the frontline staff to address challenges directly.
Shared governance councils offer an opportunity for nurses to meet with administration and raise issues at the bedside that require attention from the management level. By engaging in discussions with administration, nurses can advocate for changes that may improve patient care or enhance the working conditions for frontline staff. This form of participative decision-making ensures that the voices and perspectives of nurses are taken into account when making decisions that impact their practice.
In conclusion, while scientific management theory emphasizes task accomplishment, there are aspects of healthcare routines that pose challenges to its implementation. The excessive focus on tasks, evaluations based solely on task completion, and the pressure to take on additional responsibilities can hinder nursing professionals’ ability to provide optimal patient care. However, participative decision-making strategies such as unit forums and shared governance councils offer opportunities for nurses to have a voice in decision-making processes and contribute to improving the quality of care in healthcare organizations.