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Group Dynamics-elements, group dynamics in nursing

Elements cont….


Many kinds of decisions are made in groups without considering the effects these decisions have on other members. Some try to impose their own decisions on the group, while others want all members to participate or share in the decisions that are made. Some decisions are made consciously after much debate and voting. Others are made silently when no one objects to suggestion.


Some people may speak very little, yet they may capture the attention of the whole group. Others may talk a lot—but other members may pay little attention to them.


  • One major concern for group members is the degree of acceptance or inclusion they feel in the group.
  • Are there any sub-groupings? Sometimes two or three members may consistently agree and support each other or consistently disagree and oppose one another.
  • Do some people seem to be outside the group? Do some members seem to be “in”? How those outside are treated?
  • Do some members move in and out of the group? Under what conditions do they move in and out?


During any group discussion, feelings are frequently generated by the interactions between members. These feelings, however, are seldom talked about. Observers may have to make guesses based on tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures and many other forms of nonverbal cues.

Group atmosphere

Something about the way a group works creates an atmosphere which in turn is revealed in a general impression. Insight can be gained into the atmosphere characteristic of a group by finding words which describe the general impression held by group members.

Group Power

Power is the member’s ability to influence the group and its other members.

Group Norms

Acceptable standards of behavior that are adhered to by the group members. These define what ought/ought not to be done by members.

Group maturity

The ability and willingness of group members to set goals and work toward their accomplishment.

Characteristic of mature group

  • An increasing ability to be self-directed (not dependent on the leader).
  • An increased tolerance in accepting that progress takes time.
  • An increasing sensitivity to their own feelings and those of others.
  • Improvement in the ability to withstand tension, frustration and disagreement.
  • An increased ability to change plans and methods as new situations develop.

Group Cohesion

It is the strength of desire of the members to work together toward common goals and to support one another. Cohesion has been associated with positive group outcomes, increased interactions, and norm conformity and goal directedness.

Factors affecting group Cohesiveness

  • Group goals
  • Similarity among members
  • Type of interdependence among members
  • Leader behavior
  • Communication structure
  • Group activities
  • Group atmosphere
  • Group size.


Group dynamics in nursing management

  • The nature of nursing is such that most of nurses works in groups and are continually interacting with colleagues, patients and members of community.Despite the importance of this interaction insufficient emphasis has been given to group dynamics in nursing. Knowledge of many aspects of group and group processes is very important aspect of management which can enhance the effectiveness of nurse manager.
  • All the organizations have objectives and these objectives can be attained by activities and decision of the groups that administer organization. A hospital service is such an organization and it is the responsibility of nurse manager to influence group processes to attain the administration’s objectives.
  • The nurse manager can act as a facilitator by exercising a constructive influence on group. In this way individual and group performance can be enhanced by leadership behavior. This is one of the primary roles of nurse manager as a team leader.
  • In an attempt to increase the interdependence of group members, nurse manager can plan work and arrange assignments with this goal in mind. This can be achieved by exerting some control over reward and punishment when work goals are either attained or not attained.
  • The nurse manager must have a concern for the direction in which groups are moving. She constantly revitalized and redirects group’s attention towards the goals she set particularly when her observation and analysis show that the group has tendency to lose direction and to lose sight of objectives.
  • A nurse manager evaluates the progress, which cannot be achieved without assistance and support of other group members. So nurse manager use group in making decisions.
  • Group dynamics helps the nurse leader to develop and nurture cultural bond within the group despite of all the diversities. It often happens one of the group becomes uncomfortable with the culture and begins to change his or her behavior. It becomes stressful for the leader because it is difficult for her to be objective as she sees the cohesiveness of the group falling apart. Under such circumstances she must remember the employee creating disturbance is still an integral part of the group and special attention must be given to the employee.
  • Group dynamics enable the nurse manager to be confident and secure in herself so that she operates from a secure and stable psychological base before asking hers staff to make changes.
  • The nursing profession being anthropocentric creates numerous situations in which nurse managers are called upon to solve problems. A knowledge of group dynamics can be utilize not only in the context of nursing leadership but also as an influence on the health behavior of patient in the hospital or clients in the community.
  • In all areas of health care, nurses interact with groups of students, faculty, clients, client’s families and professional colleagues. An understanding of group dynamics and their application is essential for the effective functioning of nurses in their professional and personal lives.
  • Group dynamics focuses two types of groups that nurse managers may encounter.
    • Task groups
    • Work-related Social Support Groups

Group dynamics in nursing service

  • Historically, nurses have used groups and group processes in hospitals and other health care settings.
  • Nursing profession progressed from functional assignments to the team nursing approach.
  • Psychiatric nursing field specifically explored the use of groups as a teaching method, a therapeutic tool, and a form of peer supervision.

Group dynamics in nursing education

Group dynamics can play a significant role in nursing education and learning in groups, for

  • Case discussions
  • Group discussions
  • Case presentations
  • Skill learning and practice sessions
  • Ward rounds with clinical instructor
  • It helps in developing critical thinking
  • Better development of skills
  • Enhances interpersonal relations and communication skills
  • Helps clarifying doubts
  • Increase socialization