For every nurse leader, there comes a time when you must assess your financial position, whether it be on the unit, departmental, or system level. One tool that nurse leaders can use to gain a better understanding of their financial performance is the SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats – analysis. By identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your organization, nurse leaders are better equipped to develop well informed strategic plans that help you and your organization achieve your goals. Below is a basic framework that can be used by any nurse leader to better understand their organization’s performance:
Strengths: What do you do well?
- Core competencies, or things your organization does well that distinguish your hospital or system from competitors
- Internal resources such as highly specialized physicians and nursing teams
- Tangible assets such asspecialized medical equipment
- Ex: state-of-the-art facilities, superior quality care
Weaknesses: Where do you need to improve?
- Areas in your organization where performance could be improved
- Functional areas where other hospitals perform better
- Resource limitations
- Ex: staffing shortages, high number of uninsured patients
Opportunities: What emerging opportunities can you use to achieve your goals?
- Emerging demand for your organization’s specialty areas
- Opportunities to increase your hospital’s sphere of influence
- Competitor weaknesses
- Ex: marketing opportunities to increase hospital awareness, patient trust
Threats: What obstacles are you facing?
- Both internal and external threats that the organization is facing
- Changing regulatory environment / patient attitudes
- Performance issues that can affect hospital reputation
- Ex: poor performance or reputation, changing regulatory requirements
The SWOT framework can be an effective tool to provide insight into many situations and inform go-forward strategy such as for team dynamics, unit or service-line performance, and leadership development for yourself or for members or your team.
1Hunt, P., Laughon, D. (October 14th, 2019) Performing a SWOT analysis