Complexity and change in nurse workflows

James M. Vardaman, Paul T. Cornell, Thomas R. Clancy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


As systems evolve over time, their natural tendency is to become increasingly more complex. Studies in the field of complex systems have generated new perspectives on management in social organizations such as hospitals. Much of this research appears as a natural extension of the cross-disciplinary field of systems theory. This is the 20th in a series of articles applying complex systems science to the traditional management concepts of planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling. In this article, the authors discuss how nurse workflow is characteristic of complex adaptive systems and the need for caution when selecting a performance improvement method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-82
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nursing Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


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