Lippitt's theory of change is based on the concept of an external agent creating change through careful planning. The Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics explains that in nursing the care team becomes the external agent affecting change through designing and implementing care plans for patients.
The Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics also describes seven stages of Lippit's theory of change in detail, and at each stage, the nursing team and its actions are central to the overall outcome for the patient.
The first-stage process is diagnosing the problem, carried out by a senior nurse, and the results are then passed on to those affected by the findings. Motivation is then assessed, both in terms of staff and resources. The senior nursing staff members aim to discover whether there is any opposition to their understanding of the way forward at this stage.
The third stage involves checking that the front line staff, those who actually affect the change, are able to do so, and what support they need to be able to effective create the desired change. The plan is then put in writing, and the roles of everyone involved are clearly defined. The process is monitored to ensure it is working; in the case of nursing, this stage involves the patient's health improving. The final stage of the process involves terminating the relationship once the desired change has been affected.