School of Nursing - LSU Health New Orleans

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Strategies for Problem Solving

Nursing students will be expected to have or develop strong problem-solving skills. Problem solving is centered on your ability to identify critical issues and create or identify solutions. Well-developed problem solving skills is a characteristic of a successful student. Remember, problems are a part of everyday life and your ability to resolve problems will have a positive influence on your future.

6 Steps of Problem Solving

Step 1: Identify and Define the Problem

It is not difficult to overlook the true problem in a situation and focus your attention on issues that are not relevant. This is why it is important that you look at the problem from different perspectives. This provides a broad view of the situation that allows you to weed out factors that are not important and identify the root cause of the problem.

Step 2: Analyze the Problem

Break down the problem to get an understanding of the problem. Determine how the problem developed. Determine the impact of the problem.

Step 3: Develop Solutions

Brainstorm and list all possible solutions that focus on resolving the identified problem. Do not eliminate any possible solutions at this stage.

Step 4: Analyze and Select the Best Solution

List the advantages and disadvantages of each solution before deciding on a course of action. Review the advantages and disadvantages of each possible solution. Determine how the solution will resolve the problem. What are the short-term and long-term disadvantages of each solution? What are the possible short-term and long-term benefits of each solution? Which solution will help you meet your goals?

Step 5: Implement the Solution

Create a plan of action. Decide how you will move forward with your decision by determining the steps you must take to ensure that you move forward with your solution. Now, execute your plan of action.

Step 6: Evaluate the Solution

Monitor your decision. Assess the results of your solution. Are you satisfied with the results? Did your solution resolve the problem? Did it produce a new problem? Do you have to modify your solution to achieve better results? Are you closer to achieving your goal? What have you learned?