ChamberlainCollege of Nursing
NR447: RN Collaborative Healthcare
Conflictis a disagreement between opposing individuals or groups. There existthree types of conflict, interpersonal, individual, and intergroup ororganizational. Individual conflicts occur in the workplace mostlybecause of conflict in roles here is where the expectation of theroles assigned is not compatible. When a member of staff does notunderstand the role of others, or when the team feels that anotherstaff is doing work that is not their responsibility could bringstress to the organization (Finkelman, 2012).
Interpersonalconflict occurs between persons, caused by individual differences,including competition, personality, or concern about loss, control,and territory. When conflict occurs between groups, it is known asintergroup conflict. Conflicts happen when something is out of synccaused by vagueness in the description of responsibility and roles ofstaff (Finkelman, 2012).
Conflictis displayed overtly or covertly, with both bringing about problemsor opportunities. Covert conflict processes are difficult to describeand find, it is the behaviors that can be described. They arecategorized as, repressive, avoidant and reactive. Overt conflict isevident to most people. It is easier to arrive at an agreement when aconflict is present and understood. This kind of conflict if properlychanneled can lead to innovation and change, this view shows thatcontrolled conflict in an organization can bring about growth(Finkelman, 2012).
Conflictcannot be avoided, but it can be used to tap into the diversitypresent in a team. Variety in turn, allows individual members topresent their ideas to the team and understand its contribution tothe system (Finkelman, 2012). Some of the causes of conflict are,unfair sharing of resources, changes in routine that are notexplained, not clarifying expectations set, ambiguity, jurisdiction,communication confusion, conflict of interest and unresolvedconflicts (Finkelman, 2012).
Descriptionof Observed Conflict
Ina hospital I worked in, a nurse was assigned to a patient. Thepatient after regaining consciousness decided to sign himself out ofthe hospital, despite the nurse’s advice not to. The doctor incharge upon finding out that the patient had left, took her fury uponthe nurse. She scolded the nurse in public before patients, theirfamilies and staff, the nurse’s protests that she did not “letthe patient leave” fell on deaf ears. The nurse being scolded waswell respected by the nursing staff.
Asa result of the public outburst, other nurses decided to sabotage thephysician`s operations they would avoid working with her, and theywould pretend not to understand her orders. This eventually led topatient dissatisfaction with the physician`s care, and eventually thephysician was under review. The nurses would also spread rumorsaround that ruined the doctor’s reputation.
Thiswas a form of covert interpersonal conflict. This is because it wasbetween two individuals and was expressed in the behavior of thenurses, which was discreet in nature. The negative outcomes of theconflict were dissatisfaction of patients, negative review of thephysician, ruined reputation and, an uncertain career. The conflictwas unresolved because the stress between the physician and thenurses was never settled and it led to more trouble between the twoparties.
FourStages of Conflict
Thestages of conflict are, latent, perceived, felt, and manifestconflicts. Latent conflict is caused by inadequate communication orcompetition for resources, here is when conflict is anticipated. Thisstage is characterized by a lot of tension which is caused by, a unitnot viewing their colleagues of another unit as being competentbecause they accepted their patients but must still take orders, andpatient plans from them (Finkelman, 2012).
Theperceived stage is when people are aware of the conflict theyrecognize that it exists at that given time. People feel the conflictbut do not talk about or discuss it. Here, people perceive whetherthe conflict is valid or not, what is known about it and how it canbe solved (Finkelman, 2012).
Atfelt stage, individuals develop feelings of anger and anxietyconcerning the conflict. Stress is apparent on the employees. If theconflict is not addressed, it will not proceed to the next stage.When the conflict is avoided at this juncture, it will be covered andmay come up again more complicated. In this stage, staff trusts thatthe conflict will be resolved to allow them to air their feelings andopinions (Finkelman, 2012).
Thelast is the manifest stage it is where the conflict is aired. Theconflict may be constructive or destructive. Helpful responses toconflict in this stage are, encouraging nurses to determine andunderstand the problem, to express their feelings, and decide tohelp. Destructive behavior includes refuting a problem, eludingpeople, discussing of staff negatively, and ignoring a policy(Finkelman, 2012).
Conflictcan be resolved through accommodating. This strategy is used when youknow you are in the wrong, and it refers to yielding in order tosmooth things over. Often used when the source of conflict is of moreimportant to the other party of the conflict. This strategy should beused minimally because when overused someone may be seen asineffective and afraid to resolve issues (American SentinelUniversity, 2011).
Collaborationis a strategy of conflict resolution that involves assertiveness andcooperation when parties endeavor to join their perceptions and solvethe dispute. It is regarded as the best form of conflict resolution(American Sentinel University, 2011).
Nursesshould always strive to settle disputes among themselves beforebringing in the nurse leader. This would increase trust among thenurses. The nurse leader when addressing a conflict can delegate theresponsibility of solving the dispute to the affected nurses in orderto build their confidence (Finkelman, 2012).
Thecompromising strategy calls for both parties in a conflict torelinquish their high ground with a view to establish a common groundto develop an agreeable solution. The avoidance strategy is used toput off conflict entirely. By ignoring a conflict, one hopes that theissue will solve itself without the need of confrontation (Johansen,2012).
Whenresolving conflicts, the nurse leader should provide privacy forissues that are sensitive in nature. The use of problem-solvingapproaches should be employed, and the process should be tackled withunderstanding and not judgment. The final verdict should work towardsprevention of future conflicts (Finkelman, 2012).
Otherstrategies include, parties in conflict should avoid criticizing theother parties or denying the feelings that brought about theconflict. When trying to settle disputes objectivity should bemaintained, nurses should focus on the problem at hand and not dealin distracting issues (Finkelman, 2012).
Conflictwhenever possible should be prevented this is done by focusing onthe issues that cause conflict. Knowing what is expected of you,clear communication, fair allocation of resources, and definition ofresponsibilities will help avert conflict (Finkelman, 2012).
Leadersshould be able to identify conflict and deal with it in time beforeit causes stress in the work place. The stages of conflict serve as agood baseline for nurse leaders to determine the presence ofconflict. Under the latent stage, leaders should encourage nurses totalk about what is bothering them. Talking could help ease thetension between individuals or group (Finkelman, 2012).
Inthe felt and perceived stages, the nurse leader should address theconflict at hand before the results of the conflict occur. If theconflict does take place in the manifest stage, the leader shouldensure that it is expressed in a constructive sense and not affectperformance (Finkelman, 2012).
Inthe nursing field, interpersonal conflict should be avoided. Poorlymanaged conflict resolution could have an influence on patientoutcomes. Open communication, teamwork, and effective leadershipshould be adopted to reduce conflict. Conflict should be resolvedquickly in order to avoid patient errors and the loss of quality andefficient care (Finkelman, 2012).
Thenurse leader should be purposeful and insightful when resolving theconflict because it is directly linked to the safety of patients. Foran effective conflict resolution the following should be observed,dialogue should be initiated between the conflicting parties, nursesshould be coached on personal conflict resolution, the nurse leadershould always be out identifying potential conflict areas and work toavoid them, educating and training the staff on conflict (Johansen,2012).
Finkelman,A. (2012). Leadershipand management for nurses: Core competencies for quality care(2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson..
AmericanSentinel University. (2011, July 27). Explore the 5 Styles ofConflict Management & Resolution in Nursing. Retrieved fromhttp://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2011/07/27/nursing-strategies-common-tactics-for-managing-conflict/
Johansen M.(2012). Keeping the peace: Conflict management strategies for nursemanagers. The Journalof Excellence in Nursing Leadership,43(2),50-54. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.0000410920.90831.96