Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Using systems thinking in patient safety: a case study on medicines management

Brimble, Mandy ORCID: and Jones, Aled ORCID: 2017. Using systems thinking in patient safety: a case study on medicines management. Nursing Management 24 (4) 10.7748/nm.2017.e1621

[thumbnail of Author proof.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (421kB) | Preview


Systems thinking is used as a way of understanding behaviours and actions in complex healthcare organisations. An important premise of the concept is that every action in a system causes a reaction elsewhere in that system. These reactions can lead to unintended consequences, sometimes long after the original action, and so are not always attributed to them. This article applies systems thinking to a medicines management case study, to highlight how quality-improvement practitioners can use the approach to underpin planning and implementation of patient-safety initiatives. The case study is specific to transcribing in children's hospices, but the strategies can be applied to other areas. The article explains that, while root cause analysis tools are useful for identifying the cause of, and possible solutions to, problems, they need to be considered carefully in terms of unintended consequences, and how the system into which the solution is implemented can be affected by the change. Analysis of problems using a systems-thinking approach can help practitioners to develop robust and well informed business cases to present to decision makers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: RCN Publishing
ISSN: 1354-5760
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 August 2017
Date of Acceptance: 25 May 2017
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 21:38

Citation Data

Cited 7 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics