Discussion: Differentiating Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Planning

Discussion: Differentiating Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Planning

Continuous planning is an important activity for any organization that aims to evolve to stay current in its industry and serve its intended purpose. There are several types of planning used by nurse executives: strategic planning, operational planning, and tactical planning. Each type of planning usually occurs at different management levels and over different periods of time. A clear understanding of the differences between each type of plan will aid you next week in selecting a meaningful strategic issue for your Strategic Plan.

By Day 3

In your own words, differentiate between an operational plan, a tactical plan, and a strategic plan in nursing. Provide an example of each.

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Discussion: Differentiating Strategic, Operational, and Tactical Planning

In your own words, differentiate between an operational plan, a tactical plan, and a strategic plan in nursing.

Strategic plan

A strategic plan focuses on why a planned activity or action needs to take place. It revolves around long-term thinking and a big picture that starts from the highest level of the organization with casting a vision, presenting values and defining a mission. In addition, it includes a high-level overview of the entire organization. Besides that, it dictates the organization’s long-term decisions. Its scope can be as long as twenty years and as short as two years. Its long-term scope opens it up to significant uncertainties, such as a war occurring or geopolitical changes. For instance, an organization’s strategic plan can be to become the world’s premier medical facility by developing and adopting innovative and advanced medical technologies that ensure the best care outcomes (Huber & Joseph, 2021).

Tactical plan

A tactical plan focuses on what is going to happen. It presents short-term plans that are specific and focused. It is at this point that the strategic plan is broken down into manageable sections that can be addressed by units/department within the organization. It supports strategic planning by presenting the tactics that would be applied to achieve the outlined strategic plan. Its scope is short, typically less than one year. The short scope exposes it to moderate uncertainties, such as the price of commodities changing within a week or a flooding occurring to make roads impassable. For instance, an organization’s tactical plan can be to create a high level research facility where cutting edge medical technologies are developed and tested (Weiss, Tappen & Grimley, 2019).

Operational plan

An operational plan focuses on how things need to happen. It presents the guidelines on how the mission and vision presented in the strategic plan would be accomplished. It describes the daily activities in the organization (day-to-day running of the organization). It can be created for a single occurrence activity/event such as a promotional campaign, or it can be created for an ongoing activity/event such as procedures, regulations and policies for addressing workplace misconduct with step-by-step processes for achieving particular goals (Vana & Tazbir, 2021).


Huber, D., & Joseph, L. (2021). Leadership and Nursing Care Management (7th ed.). Elsevier, Inc.

Vana, P. K., & Tazbir, J. (2021). Kelly Vana’s Nursing Leadership and Management (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Weiss, S. A., Tappen, R. M., & Grimley, K. (2019). Essentials of Nursing Leadership & Management (7th ed.). F. A. Davis Company.



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