Systems Theory; Application in Problem Solving

Systems Theory; Application in Problem Solving

The systems theory’s foundation is on the concept that the system forms part of the whole that is involved and unified to serve a particular purpose. Within the system are interrelated and interconnected components that make up the framework (Peters, 2014). These interconnected parts are called subsystems, they are found inside the system itself and also within an environment whereby other reactions occur. To achieve equilibrium, it is essential to have a balance. Every subsystem affects the overall performance of the entire system (Applied Systems Theory, 2016). Feedback helps attain stability so as to get equilibrium. Having a view of the scheme as a whole can enable one identify the point of disequilibrium within the framework of the system. Each of the subsystems is dependent on one another, so if the system separates, it loses its equilibrium. This paper will describe how the systems theory can be used to solve problems in a psychiatric hospital.

As noted earlier, there is dependence between factors in the systems. The external environment and the core practice interact inside their sections of the model together. Because of this interdependence between the subsystems, each subsystem has the potential to affect the outcomes of the practice (Peters, 2014). The assumption in this case is that the psychiatric unit or hospital is the primary system. Its subsystems are the components that make up the mental hospital, ranging from the staff to the management, to the equipment. In this model, the environment is composed of the patients who are mentally ill and need the health care services of the hospital, their friends and their families.  Application of to practice, a model of practice is develops.

As a system that is productive, the hospital is dependent on its environment to provide it with inputs. The psychiatric hospital will then produce outputs which it similarly depends on the environment to accept. The contributions that come from the environment and the outputs that go out to the environment go through different subsystems in the psychiatric hospital which is the main unit (Scott, 2013). For instance, inputs from the environment could be money and materials, and the outputs are the services and the goods that go out to the environment. In a psychiatric hospital, the money from the patients who are mentally ill is the input that goes into the hospital and medical, and nursing services that treat the mental illness are the output that goes out to the environment  (Applied Systems Theory, 2016).

In this systems model, there is input from the environment, a throughput that is in the organization and an output that goes back to the environment (Scott, 2013). In the psychiatric hospital, a problem arises; the security guards are harassing the patients. Upon discharge, the patients express dissatisfaction at this type of treatment; their families too show the lack of satisfaction at how their mentally ill patients are being treated in the hospital. The patients and the families represent the environment; their inputs is the money they have paid for the management of their patients in the psychiatric hospital. The security guards that harass the patients are part of the many subsystems that form the psychiatric unit. They also represent the throughput. There is a problem in the throughput; the victims are being harassed by the security subsystem of the hospital.



The output is patients and families who are not satisfied by the quality of care they have received. The patients give negative feedback to the mental hospital. The desired outcome is that the patients and their families will express maximum satisfaction in the quality of care that they are receiving in this psychiatric hospital.

To achieve this goal, the hospital will set some objectives that will enable it to meet its aims;

  1. By the end of one week, investigate the incidences of harassment of patients by the security guards in the psychiatric hospital.
  2. To find out the reason for harassment of patients by security guards.

III.    To set up a disciplinary committee within two weeks to discipline any security guards convicted of contravening the hospital policy as regards this matter

  1. By the end of two weeks train all the employees in the hospital on how to deal with all types of patients in a mental asylum case of a similar event will be outlined.

Persons found guilty of harassing the patients will be immediately suspended and face legal charges from the hospital and the patients. The hospital will also file a charge to suspend their practicing license in any other psychiatric hospital.

The solution to this problem will ultimately aid in the achievement of the psychiatric hospital’s overall goal which is to offer high-quality mental health care to all its patients. The solution will be helpful in changing the organizational culture in the mental hospital. The organization needs to change their dealings with patients (Lane, 2012). The solution will go a long way in repairing the broken relationship between the organization and its immediate environment. The environment has for long held the assumption that mental health facilities are lock ups or dumping sites for the mentally ill patients. That is however not the care, but it must be understood that the incident in the mental hospital with the security guards will not help change the notion. The solutions on the other hand will paint the picture of an organization that is dedicated and committed to the welfare of its patients despite their poor mental status.

Training will also go a long way in changing the attitude and perceptions of the security guards who in their training may not have been specifically prepared for the job of protecting mentally ill patients especially when they turn violent in manic episodes. The disciplinary action by the mental institution will send a message to the employees that the hospital is committed to living up to its mission statement.  The organization’s values will have been upheld and its mission statement will be honored (Lane, 2012).

The training for the employees in the hospital will be helpful in reinforcing the mental ethical practices in the hospital. The training and disciplinary measures will surely be in line with the mental health requirements. The training will be useful in increasing the awareness of not only the health care team but also the security guards (Lane, 2012). The code of ethics that the welfare the safety of the mentally ill patients in mental hospital. The training and the disciplinary measures act as a source of reinforcement for the welfare of the patients.

In summary, this paper has described the systems theory that deals with subsystems that depend on each other. The system is representative of any entity, and in this case, it has been representative of a psychiatric hospital. The paper has described how the model can be used to solve problems in the hospital through inputs, throughputs, and outputs.




Applied Systems Theory. (2016).

Lane, C. (2012). Essential Psychiatric, Mental Health and Substance Use Competencies for the Registered Nurse. Archives Of Psychiatric Nursing26(2), 80-110.

Scott, W. (2013). Organizations and Organizing: Pearson New International Edition (1st ed.). Pearson.

Peters, D. (2014). The application of systems thinking in health: why use systems thinking?. Health Research Policy And Systems12(1).


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