SWOT analysis for Nurses and Health care environments
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in a health care environment.
SWOT – for management, mentoring and nursing
A SWOT analysis is a tool that can provide prompts to the managers, clinical leads, nurse tutors, nurse mentors and staff involved in the analysis of what is effective and less effective in clinical systems and procedures, in preparation for a plan of some form (that could be an audit (CQC), assessments, quality checks etc.). In fact a SWOT can be used for any planning or analysis activity which could impact future finance, planning and management decisions. It can enable you (the management& clinical staff) to carry out a more comprehensive analysis.
Definitions of SWOT
- Strengths – Factors that are likely to have a positive effect on (or be an enabler to) achieving the clinic’s objectives
- Weaknesses – Factors that are likely to have a negative effect on (or be a barrier to) achieving the clinic’s objectives
- Opportunities – External Factors that are likely to have a positive effect on achieving or exceeding the clinic’s objectives, or goals not previously considered
- Threats – External Factors and conditions that are likely to have a negative effect on achieving the clinic’s objectives, or making the objective redundant or un-achievable.
Before starting any planning or analysis process you need to have a clear and SMART goal or objective. What is it that you need to achieve or solve? Ensure that all key stakeholders (relevant to the issue being explored) buy into this objective or goal.
Use the PRIMO-F model to ensure all internal factors are considered
Conducting a SWOT analysis in a clinical environment
One of the most effective ways to conduct a SWOT analysis is not in isolation, but with a team effort. When the goal is shared, then a brainstorming session can be run.
Ensure than when running such a session it is facilitated by a person not involved with the content – this is best with an independent person. If budgets do not allow this – then talk to another establishments head, and arrange a contra deal.
Do this activity in a number of phases:
- Share the goal
- Data collection (no filtering or comments – record verbatim) consider all areas of PRIMO-F
- Take a break of at least 1 hr
- Filter, sort and analyse into the 4 areas – SWOT – be critical and SMART avoid ambiguous statements or ideas at this stage
- Prioritise the elements
Have a second session where the planning phase takes this data and puts it into a realistic plan.
IMPORTANT TIP – do not hide or underestimate threats or weaknesses – if you ignore them or underplay them now they will come back to haunt you at some stage – probably when they can do most damage!
The goal of any session like this is not necessarily to neutralise any weakness or threat – that is impossible – but to have it on your radar – and where possible take avoiding action. To some extent it is all about risk.
What sort of tasks and issues can this be used for?
At its most complex and comprehensive, it can be used for business planning, however it is also of value to solving localised issues and challenges.
An Example of a nursing based SWOT
We will use an example of a nurse working within a primary care clinic who want to improve the relationship with their patients.
The clinic identified the following objective:
- To improve parent-partnership by encouraging patients to visit the clinic and become active members of the community.
- Outcome – to have less than 50% of patients waiting more than one hour for treatment
Currently, the clinic holds an open day once each year. It uses this as a way to encourage patients to visit the clinic and engage with clinic staff. The following is the initial SWOT Analysis.
The next step is to develop a plan with interested stakeholders
SWOT Analysis templates for Nursing, clinics & health care
SWOT Analysis Template/ Worksheet – use these templates to start your SWOT process
|SWOT Analysis on ____________________ (organisation name or product/ service/ project)Clinic/ establishment/ organisation Background/ situation ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(usual business partners, relationships, channels to market, assumptions etc…)
Date PESTLE completed ____________________
Date of SWOT Analysis ____________________ ____________________v
|Under each of the PRIMO-Ffactors list the relevant strengths and weaknesses.List the Opportunities and threats from your PESTLE analysis below.Then considering the combination of these factors generate some options or alternative strategies for action.||Strengths (PRIMO-F)
||SO Alternatives / Strategies
||WO Alternatives / Strategies
||ST Alternatives / Strategies
||WT Alternatives / Strategies
SWOT Analysis Template / Worksheet for Nursing/ Clinical Environments 2
|SWOT Analysis on ____________________ (Clinic/ establishment organisation name or product/ service/ project)Background/ situation__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
(usual operational partners, relationships, channels to market, assumptions etc…)
Date PESTLE completed ____________________
Date of SWOT Analysis ____________________v
|Under each of the PRIMO-Ffactors list the relevant strengths and weaknesses.List the Opportunities and threats from your PESTLE analysis below.Then considering the combination of these factors generate some options or alternative strategies for action.||Strengths||Weaknesses|
|Opportunities||SO Alternatives / Strategies||WO Alternatives / Strategies|
|Threats||ST Alternatives / Strategies||WT Alternatives / Strategies|
SWOT Analysis Template / Worksheet for Nursing/ Clinical Environments 3
|SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and threats|
|Company/ Department name|
|Our Strengths||Ways to exploit||Our Weaknesses||Ways to reduce|
|Our Opportunities||Ways to exploit||Our Threats||Ways to reduce|
A SWOT analysis in a clinic, college or other health care establishment can be a simple and yet effective tool for ensuring that all appropriate factors are considered. In this environment it is particularly important to use the PRIMO-F template to ensure that all elements have been considered. Indeed ensure that under People – nurses, support staff, patients and children are considered along with third party people (police, local health etc that can form a part of your community.
Nurses, Mentors, CLINICAL GOVERNANCE TEAM, management committees etc all have a valuable contribution to make
Under Resources, remember to include IT, and consumables that can be used as part of the process
Keywords: swot analysis nursing, clinical, health care, hospitals, management, paramedical, hospital, infection control
Originally Published on: Oct 30, 2011 reviewed June 2014
A SWOT analysis is a valuable diagnostic tool, but it is only as good as the data and context considered. Remember, keep the analysis real, in context and focussed on the goal you are seeking.
When using a SWOT analysis, always use the PRIMO-F & PEST or PESTLE analysis profiles to ensure all factors are covered.
For more on SWOT analysis read our other articles.