The strategic vision of any organization acts as the central philosophy, providing a means by which everyone in the company or institution can be provided with direction, meaning and focus for the work they perform. This paper assesses the mission and philosophy of Sanford USD Medical Centers, assessing what the key ideas are and the ways in which Sanford aim to achieve their objectives. The mission of Sanford will be directly compared with that of an educational establishment; South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the differences and similarities between these two declarations discussed.
Health care and educational organizations exist for a purpose. Marquis and Huston in their 2008 publication on leadership roles within the nursing profession claim that the purpose of a mission statement and philosophy serves to establish why an organization exists and what the institution claims to be their main purpose. In their mission statement Sanford claim that they are “dedicated to the work of healing” (1). This instantly associates the organization with a compassionate and caring image that firmly implants the institution in people’s minds as a place where the wellness of others is a priority.
This is very similar to the mission of SDSU, which focuses on “the education of nurses and other health care professionals who influence the health and quality of life in the state, region and nation” (SDSU). Here, again, the focus is very much upon providing for others and firmly establishes the company as a service organization. In both cases the mission is very brief and to the point. The Sanford mission has a more aspirational feel to it and is heavily differentiated from the mission of similar service providers. The SDSU mission however, does feel slightly ordinary and didn’t inspire me in the same way that the Sanford mission did.
However, the information accompanying the SDSU mission is more comprehensive than that of Sanford as they incorporate further detail as to how they intend to achieve their mission, “This mission is accomplished through (…) Preparation of graduates who are internationally competitive, globally informed, communication-able, change -able and socially responsible” (SDSU mission). In both cases the purpose of the organization is to serve others, in the former this is with the objective of directly nursing patients and the latter the intention is to provide their students with the skills and knowledge they need to perform their duties.
However, the SDSU mission is pitched in the current tense and therefore implies that the mission of the university is already being achieved “this mission is accomplished…” (SDSU mission). The Sanford mission is more visionary and aspirational, “we strive to.. ” (1). Whilst the mission of an organization serves to communicate the reason for the existence of the facility, the philosophy reflects the belief of the establishment and is linked with their vision for the future. In both cases the philosophies are comprehensive and detailed.
The Sanford philosophy is very much focused upon their employees, the nurses, and describes the role that the staff plays in delivering the aims of the organization. Within the SDSU mission however, the vehicles by which the mission will be delivered, the faculty, are only briefly mentioned, with their philosophy focusing instead upon the product of the education; nurses and clients. This suggests that Sanford recognize the criticality of their employees in delivering the service required whilst SDSU are more concerned with the outcome of the education they provide and thus their clients.
Adversely, Sanford makes only a small reference to their clients, the patients. One possible explanation for the importance placed upon the role of the nurse at Sanford can be found in The Standards of Professional Nursing Practice (ANA). This code describes the requirements for nursing performance and prescribes what needs to be in place for competent care to be provided. It is clear that this has formed the basis for the development of the Sanford philosophy with many terms being replicated across the two documents.
The difference between the philosophies in regard to the weight placed upon the role of the staff is potentially due to the intended audience of their philosophy. The mission and philosophy serves as a communication to potential clients and patients and, as such, will be carefully tailored to provide these customers with key messages. In a healthcare organization clients will highly value the nurses and their professionalism. Their illness may be unavoidable but they can actively choose the quality of the care they wish to receive.
Whilst the professionalism of the tutorage provided by a university will most certainly be of interest to potential students, the major focus for them will be upon the quality of the education they receive and the skills it will arm them with. The university also has a further audience to concern themselves with, health companies and providers who may recruit their students once the course of study is complete. The philosophy of Sanford focuses heavily upon the quality of care and the way in which they propose to optimize this.
Explicit examples are provided such as “we support clinical inquiry to generate new nursing knowledge and actively participate in the hospital’s interdisciplinary performance improvement teams” (1). In the SDSU philosophy however, this detail is lacking and much of the information contained within the document seems to act as an explanation of key terms as opposed to a provision of detail as to how standards will be achieved.
As such it serves to define the program that will be delivered in terms of client, health, environment and nursing and goes on to classify each of these terms, for example, “Each client is a multidimensional being, which includes physical, psychological, sociocultural and spiritual dimensions” (SDSU mission). It does not, however, share information as to the values that will underpin this education or specify the ethical standards that the university will adhere to. For this reason, the Sanford communication is more effective in providing information concerning the beliefs of the organization.
ANA Professional Standards for Nursing Practice. (n. d. ). Retrieved January 12, 2009, from http://www. ferris. edu/htmls/colleges/alliedhe/link_desc. cfm? LinkID=45. Huston, C. , & Marquis, B. (2008). Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Sanford USD Medical Centre Patient Services/Nursing Administration Standard Operating Procedure. March 1977. SDSU:Mission and Philosophy. (n. d. ). Retrieved January 12, 2009, from http://www3. sdstate. edu/Academics/CollegeOfNursing/AboutTheCollege/MissionandPhilosophy/Index. cfm.
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