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Organizational Theory in Nursing

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Organizational theory considers how organizations are structured in an effort to better understand how that structure impacts productivity, efficiencies and effectiveness. Within the framework of nursing, organizational theory simply views a health care facility’s nursing set-up to determine if it works for the benefit of patients.

Organizational Structure

The nursing organizational structure includes the executive and her staff, department heads, operational managers and the personnel reporting to them, including nurses, technicians and others. In organizing or reorganizing, it is vital that each person understand her role and be given leeway to adjust to it while also understanding her duties and responsibilities, the standards she is expected to maintain and her relationships to other personnel.

Future Prospects

One of the impacts of organizational theory in nursing is preparing for the future. Roles within the nursing structure should be organized along lines of specialization and function. That structure better facilitates training of new personnel which, in turn, ensures continuity for the future.

Patient Benefits

Successfully applying organizational theory to a nursing structure should provide for better patient care. At all levels, the organizational theory should be applied to enhance patient services. Thus, at the unit level, where the nurses and patients constantly interact, there should be free-flowing information between the front-line nurses and their supervisors as well as up and down the chain of command.


Douglas Hawk has been freelance writing since 1983. He has had articles appear in numerous Colorado newspapers and in a wide variety of national magazines. Hawk has sold three novels and one short story, which won an award from the Colorado Authors' League. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Adams State College and master's degree in mass communications from the University of Denver.

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