Morgan Dorris
3 min readMay 1, 2020

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In the Healthcare setting, there are loads of uncertainity and chaos. Professionals in this field often are tasked with developing their problem solving skills as well as their patience in order to cope and get the job done. Further expansion of these skills can lead to greater efficiency in the workplace as well as a reduction in stress levels. These results will often carry over into the individuals personal lives as well.

A new way of thinking, called Systems Thinking, is a method that encompasses all that is mentioned above. It is a skill, much like a mental road map, to help someone overcome and pick apart a problem. Where problems in life and work are unavoidable, systems thinking offers a way to adapt. Systems thinking is made up of four parts and uncovers four ways we tap into it.

The first piece of this new way of thinking is using information. In every situation, information is present. With every piece of information, a distinction is made. Distinctions are what our brain uses to “organize” the information we take in to understand what the information is to us. In other words, give it a label. This label will be able to alert us to what pieces of information present a problem, and what do not.

With the intake of information, we add structure to the distinctions in order to categorize problems through systems. Systems take the “whole” picture into account which can lead to the ability to break them down or build them up accordingly. Think of this as a lego project. A finished lego piece can look like a whole structure, but you have to ability to take apart all of the small pieces that add to it, analyze them, and recategorize them if you choose. Recategorizing these pieces will lead to a whole different structure.

When we add structure and information together, it equates to a mental model. The mental model is the foundation of what systems thinking is. It is our road map to defining problems in order to assess their parts more effectively.

After our foundation is formed, relationships are formed. Relationships are pairing the information with other ideas and thoughts in order to form a connection a between the two. Pairing information with a relationship is determing how different pieces of information react to one another and form something greater. In other words, we are pairing an action with a reaction.

Perspective is another factor when we are considering information. Perspective is the thought that is formed while contemplating an object or subject. It is using what we view and establishing our ideas on what we are viewing. Everyone will establish different perspectives. The abilty to take your intial perspective and consider what ideas may come up if looking through a different lens is a powerful tool when problem solving in systems thinking.

These four parts all work together in order to form our rationale around a percieved problem. Being able to organize and break them down into smaller or larger parts will often result in an abundance of solutions. In order to tap in to using this form of thinking, there are a set of mindsets that precede it. Once faced with a problem, we determine where it lies in our mental state.

Unconscious-incompetence — we simply don’t know what we don’t know.

Conscious-incompetence — we realize now that we have something to learn.

Unconscious-incompetence — we try to learn a skill without full knowledge of how to adapt

Conscious-competence — we hold full of awareness of what to learn and how to adapt

Moving about these levels may take time, but they certainly don’t have to. The better we become of taking in our information and acting efficiently with what is presented, the better we can master this skill. The healthcare industry can greatly benefit from systems thinking, but it is not limited to the industry. Having the tools to dissect our everyday environments in life can lead to a greater understanding of problems that arise and with such an understanding, stress is less likely to be provoked. Consider this a lifetime skill to add to your list.

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