An open system is much better than a closed system, as “[a]n organization depends on its supporting environments for continued inputs to ensure its sustainability and processes these inputs through the recurring and patterned activities and interactions of individuals to yield outputs” (Meyer & O’Brien-Pallas 2010, p. 2830). As applied to a nursing and medical practice environment, the need for this continued input is paramount, as resources and personnel can become scarce. For example, in my organization, one problem we often have is a lack of specialists to deal with our patients’ varied conditions and problems. In a closed system, we would be unable to treat these patients, as we would have limited resources and expertise with which to help. Our staff only has so many specifications, and our general practitioner does not have the specific skills to treat a number of ailments, merely identify them.
Taking an open system perspective to this problem, ensuring greater inroads and referral procedures for specialists in our area would help to create an open-system approach to our medical practice. Health care outcomes would be dramatically improved, as our patients would be given access to the appropriate care by gaining access to other personnel from other practices that specialize in their condition. By keeping this input from our supporting environments, and continually searching for specialists to which to refer our patients, our ability to facilitate treatment becomes much wider. We may even cycle specialists through our office if we wish, offering their services for a day to our patients in order to streamline the treatment process if referrals become too cumbersome. This is not a perfect solution, to be sure, but it would facilitate continued inputs into our organization to generate greater health care outcomes.
Johnson, J.K., Miller, S.H., & Horowitz, S.D. (n.d.) Systems-based practice: improving the
safety and quality of patient care by recognizing and improving the systems in which we work.
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Meyer, R.M., & O’Brien-Pallas, L.L. (2010). Nursing services delivery theory: an open system
approach. Journal of Advanced Nursing 66(12): 2828-2838.