The ability to analyze problems quickly to resolve issues and find solutions
What is it?
Problem Solving is the process of identifying problems or crisis situations and dealing with them in an appropriate and timely manner. It requires the doctors and nurses to react as quickly and professionally as possible.
Why is it important?
A primary responsibility of medical personnel is to demonstrate excellence in reacting to the (sometimes unexpected or severe) medical problems of their patients. Every decision and medical response must be analyzed and thought out. Especially when a crisis or emergency situation arises, nurses have to react in not only a professional but also an expedited manner. Doctors and nurses who have skills in this area are invaluable to both their practices/hospitals as well as their patients. Thinking clearly and making reasonable decisions as quickly as possible are hallmarks of a great leader.
- Get Input from Others
First, the most important decisions about particularly tough cases should receive as much input as possible. Many of us think that, as problems arise, the specifically assigned medical staff bear the full responsibility of the decisions regarding their respective patients. While that may be true, it is still beneficial to get input from as many people, or experts, as possible. Other staff may have dealt with a similar case or could give us great insight. Asking people for their perspective can help us see things that we may have overlooked as well as save the time required to look through books, search relevant literature or try to recall past experiences.
- Critique Options
Second, critically evaluate the various options under consideration. Strengths and weaknesses for each option need to be identified and articulated. In other words, put together a list of the pros and cons for each of the possible solutions; that will help you identify the best option in the quickest, most efficient manner. If you have time, write down your list. If not, verbally analyze the options at hand with a colleague to help yourself recognize potential benefits and downsides.
- Define the Ideal Solution
Before taking action, making a recommendation, or implementing a solution, we must specifically define the characteristics of our desired outcome. For example, a doctor might determine that the best course of treatment will 1) be acceptable to the patient, 2) be easy to administer, 3) have a high rate of success, and 4) be cost-effective. Each of those criterion can be defined in detail and then used to evaluate the options. Many people leave this step in the situation-managing process out, thinking that the criteria are obvious. They usually aren’t.