SWOT analysis for Nurses and Health care environments

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats in a health care environment.

SWOT – for management, mentoring and nursing

Hospital nursing swot analysisA SWOT analysis is a tool that can provide prompts to the managers, clinical leads, nurse tutors, nurse mentors and staff involved in the analysis of what is effective and less effective in clinical systems and procedures, in preparation for a plan of some form (that could be an audit (CQC), assessments, quality checks etc.). In fact a SWOT can be used for any planning or analysis activity which could impact future finance, planning and management decisions.

It can enable you (the management& clinical staff) to carry out a more comprehensive analysis.

Definitions of SWOT

  • Strengths – Factors that are likely to have a positive effect on (or be an enabler to) achieving the clinic’s objectives
  • Weaknesses – Factors that are likely to have a negative effect on (or be a barrier to) achieving the clinic’s objectives
  • Opportunities – External Factors that are likely to have a positive effect on achieving or exceeding the clinic’s objectives, or goals not previously considered
  • Threats – External Factors and conditions that are likely to have a negative effect on achieving the clinic’s objectives, or making the objective redundant or un-achievable.

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Before starting any planning or analysis process you need to have a clear and SMART goal or objective. What is it that you need to achieve or solve? Ensure that all key stakeholders (relevant to the issue being explored) buy into this objective or goal.

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Then undertake a PESTLE analysis (or PESTLE in Clinics), this will provide you with the external factors (OT). Use the PRIMO-F model to ensure all internal factors are considered.

Conducting a SWOT analysis in a clinical environment.

One of the most effective ways to conduct a SWOT analysis is not in isolation, but with a team effort. When the goal is shared, then a brainstorming session can be run. Ensure than when running such a session it is facilitated by a person not involved with the content – this is best with an independent person. If budgets do not allow this – then talk to another establishments head, and arrange a contra deal.

Do this activity in a number of phases:

  • 1. Share the goal
  • 2. Data collection (no filtering or comments – record verbatim) consider all areas of PRIMO-F
  • 3. Take a break of at least 1 hr
  • 4. Filter, sort and analyse into the 4 areas – SWOT – be critical and SMART avoid ambiguous statements or ideas at this stage
  • 5. Prioritise the elements


Have a second session where the planning phase takes this data and puts it into a realistic plan.

IMPORTANT TIP – do not hide or underestimate threats or weaknesses – if you ignore them or underplay them now they will come back to haunt you at some stage – probably when they can do most damage!

The goal of any session like this is not necessarily to neutralise any weakness or threat – that is impossible – but to have it on your radar – and where possible take avoiding action. To some extent it is all about risk.

What sort of tasks and issues can this be used for?

At its most complex and comprehensive, it can be used for business planning, however it is also of value to solving localised issues and challenges.

An Example of a nursing based SWOT

We will use an example of a nurse working within a primary care clinic who want to improve the relationship with their patients.


  • 1. Define the goal and measurable outcomes – i.e. to have less than 50% of patients spending one hour waiting for treatment
  • 2. Consider the current activities you have in place to encourage patient-partnerships within your clinic.
  • 3. Complete a SWOT analysis, identifying your current strengths and realistically appraising your current weaknesses. This can only be done involving other nurses, doctors, support staff and patients.
  • 4. From the current analysis identify factors which could be improved
  • 5. Identify opportunities that could be created
  • 6. Put a plan and set of measures in place.


The clinic identified the following objective:

  • To improve parent-partnership by encouraging patients to visit the clinic and become active members of the community.
  • Outcome – to have less than 50% of patients waiting more than one hour for treatment


Currently, the clinic holds an open day once each year. It uses this as a way to encourage patients to visit the clinic and engage with clinic staff. The following is the initial SWOT Analysis.


  • Highly-skilled clinical staff.
  • History of successful Open day events
  • Clinic has a strong ethos of openness, sharing and commitment to increasing patient confidence
  • Patients wanting to get involved
  • Local charities willing to participate



  • Nurses not available to meet patients often enough
  • Current open days events not increasing voluntary activity
  • Not enough staff time to plan more events
  • Staff not clear of their role in the patient relationship
  • Narrow focus on open events not partnership activities
  • Services too stretched for additional activity



  • Active volunteer committee willing to plan and organise events
  • Patients active in the clinic’s Patient Participation Project can be asked for their opinions and suggestions.
  • Head Nurse is willing flex clinic times to free up clinical staff time
  • Use patients to contribute to practice delivery



  • Confidentiality is at risk
  • Patient coercion to do things they do not wish to do


Cite this page

SWOT analysis for Nurses and Health care environments. (2016, Apr 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/swot-analysis-for-nurses-and-health-care-environments-essay

SWOT analysis for Nurses and Health care environments

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