Define a difficulty with change

Many consider Kurt Lewin’s ‘changing in three steps’ (unfreezing, changing, and refreezing) to be the classic or fundamental method to change management. Scholars have criticized Lewin for oversimplifying the change process, while others have defended him against such accusations. The model’s foundational significance, on the other hand, has remained uncontested. Kurt Lewin is commonly regarded as the “founding father” of change management, with his unfreeze–change–refreeze (CATS) strategy seen as the “basic” or “classic” approach to, or classic “paradigm” for, change management (Cummings et al., 2015). In the healthcare industry, change is unavoidable. Almost two-thirds of all change programs fail in health care for a variety of reasons, including poor planning, unmotivated employees, inadequate communication, or excessively frequent changes. From the bedside to the boardroom, all healthcare professionals have a responsibility to play in achieving effective change. Using best practices developed from change theories can assist increase the likelihood of success and subsequent development in practice.

Building on Lewin’s original theory, Lippitt developed the Phases of Change Theory, which includes the following stages of change:

Increasing awareness of the need for change

Create a connection between the system and the change agent.

Define a difficulty with change.

Establish change objectives and a strategy for achieving them.

Make the necessary adjustments.

Staff accepts the modification; the situation is now stable.

Redefine the change agent’s relationship with the system (Barrow & Toney-Butler, 2020). Lippitt’s seven-phase theory may be more equivalent to the nursing process; there is a slight difference between the two, but Lewin’s contains three basic processes. Nursing is frequently far more complicated than the three levels. Looking back on my experiences as a critical care nurse, some circumstances were less complicated, but the majority were complex on numerous levels. Because these people are in critical condition, the issues that need to be addressed are as well. It appears that getting stuck in the Moving phase after three steps would be simple. My preceptor has not had the opportunity to use any of these theories.


Barrow, J. M., & Toney-Butler, T. J. (2020). Change Management. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.

Cummings, S., Bridgman, T., & Brown, K. G. (2015). Unfreezing Change as Three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s Legacy for Change Management. Human Relations69(1), 33–60. Sagepub.