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Resistance to Change: How ADCs Reduced Fear and Anxiety in Nurses

July 20th, 2021
Resistance to Change: How ADCs Reduced Fear and Anxiety in Nurses
Why Change is Hard

Change is inevitable. Fear of change is in human nature. Supervisors, training personnel, and support personnel should forgive and understand the concerns of those going through the process. We'll discuss the underlying pain points of this worry and how to tackle this fear.

Healthcare facilities constantly face new procedures and regulations. Modern equipment, safety requirements, technology involvement, and new knowledge are continually rising in medicine and science. Nurses still resist adapting to these changes despite knowing that these implementations are for better and more efficient healthcare for patients.

Hospitals are dynamic, and their personnel should be able to follow through for the facility to survive. Whether small or large, each change is crucial that all nurses have to follow. An ongoing issue with change is the inability to implement and maintain new procedures.

Fear of Change is in Human Nature

Similar to change, the fear that comes with it is also inevitable. Although fearing change is considered a negative mindset, it is not without fear. It does not indicate an individual's weakness and lack of commitment to their profession; instead, it is unpredictable and a natural expression they display when they realize it. Leaders need to understand this human nature and learn how to manage these emotions to execute any change.

Resistance comes from the feeling of being threatened in their values, according to a study. Change might force them to turn away from ideals or procedures they are already used to, leading them to cause concern that this change might not be at the same level of their competence. The fear can worsen when there is a lack of trust and miscommunication.

Unsurprisingly, the reasons behind this fear are far too common, as studies proved it: that is how they've always done it, they are uncomfortable with the change, they do not find supporting evidence to be convincing, and many others. When experienced staff face this fear of change, they appear to be inflexible and unable to commit to their responsibilities, bringing harmful effects to the culture of their facility. Otherwise, when the staff obtains a position in the decision-making process, they are less reluctant and have reduced fear and anxiety.

Facilitating Change in Hospitals

Introducing change to nurses in the facility is more effective if a direct supervisor of the staff helps direct the process. Working directly with the organization to implement the development is the most effective way. Technical hands-on training, assistance, and guidance are efficient tools to introduce and facilitate new changes in the hospital. Simply distributing written content and guides is not sufficient.

Facilitators can assist in data sharing to use as evidence for the staff while ensuring that they understand the reason behind the change. The facilitators can implement pep talks and meetings with the rest of the organization to discuss the change, present the data, and enumerate the benefits of the change. Provide the staff with additional resources to help them understand the process better. Encouraging nurses to be proactive and to ask questions will help ease this process for them.

Change is a Process

So many negative perceptions about change held back many organizations from making progress. Failure to facilitate the process and addressing the fears of the staff are common issues that disrupt change. Leaders in charge of implementing this process need to understand the natural fear that comes with change, so they must carefully assess their staff to handle this change properly.

Case Study: Sweetwater Hospital Association

Proving the evidence to this study is the situation in Sweetwater Hospital Association in Tennessee. The state-chartered facility is a not-for-profit hospital with a 59-bed capacity. It serves parts of Meigs, McMinn, Roane, Loudon, and all of Monroe County.

The Problem

By the end of every shift, nurses count the remaining medications by hand. It is a time-consuming process that can cause stress and confusion if there is a discrepancy. Furthermore, nurses often need to backtrack reasons that might have caused the error, which is not always a seamless and effective solution.

Due to the lack of a 24-hour pharmacy, the hospital wanted a solution that dispenses medication even after hours. The facility keeps patient medications in locked cabinets located inside patient rooms. So it opted to introduce the use of automated dispensing cabinets. The decision was a threat to some nurses and staff despite having the situation discussed with them. After a change of leadership, the facility finally decides to make the switch.

The Solution

Their chosen ADC model features the most extensive range of interchangeable compartments and an integrated software platform to complement.

Designed to accommodate up to 324 items, the ADC keeps all medications in a highly secured and controlled environment. It is highly customizable to suit any facility's needs, configuring drawers by two sizes and compartments by nine sizes. To ensure proper medication dispense, the ADC features a pick-to-light technology. This technology features blinking lights that guide the nurse to the correct cabinet, drawer, and compartment. It removes the amount of time a nurse spends visually scanning for the exact location of the medication.

Additionally, the integrated software program has built-in security measures such as precounts, patient medication profiles, receipt and label printing, and configurable patient and medication searching. It also includes allergy alerts, duplicate dose alerts, barcode scanning, look-a-like and sound-a-like alerts, and tall man lettering.


Newer nurses were able to embrace the change and were more open to modern technology. Introducing the new equipment became successful thanks to the director's support.

The ADC also removed the manual labor of hand-counting medication. This solution introduced a better way to report and keep track of medications, eliminating miscounts and other discrepancies. Also eliminated is the possibility of grabbing the wrong drug. Finally, the system integration is intuitive, easing any concern from the nurses because it's easy to use.