The most recurring conflict in the healthcare facility was interdependence conflict among the nurses. Cases often arise where a nurse or group of nurses complain that other nurses failed to do what was expected of them before handing over a patient to the group taking over the shift. Such complaints are often addressed but not in a way that would yield the desired outcome. This conflict has a negative impact on patient care. It has a lot to do with the delegation of duties.
Details of What Happened
At this hospital in Miami, nurses are often under great pressure to attend to a high number of patients in different departments. The nurses find themselves stretched because of the workload they have to deal with every single day. Every time one group of nurses completes its shift, it is expected to hand over the patients to another group of nurses. As a routine, there are some tasks each group of nurses is expected to complete before handing over the responsibility of the patients to those coming in the next shift.
However, cases have been emerging where nurses complain that sometimes they have to undertake duties that were to be performed by those who had completed their shift. This has sometimes created tension among the nurses as one group feels unfairly overworked. The supervisors are already aware of this problem, but no concrete action has been taken to address it. The top management is still not aware of the issue, but it is clear that the conflict threatens the fabric of this institution.
Type of Conflict
According to Porter and Malloch (2016), in order to resolve a conflict in an effective way, it is important to first understand its type. In this case, the type of conflict is man versus man. It is a case where nurses are fighting amongst themselves because they believe the environment is not fair. A section of these nurses feels that they are unfairly overworked because other nurses are not doing what is expected of them. These nurses also feel that the management is not doing enough to resolve the conflict. The supervisors are aware of the problem, but no concrete action has been done to have a lasting solution.
Four Stages of Conflict
There are four different stages of the conflict. The first stage is the latent conflict where the participants are not even aware of the existence of the conflict (Austin, Boyd, & Austin, 2010). The problem at this hospital has passed this latent stage. The second stage is a perceived conflict. At this stage, participants are aware that the problem exists but they are trying to withstand the negative forces hoping that a solution will be found soon enough.
Felt conflict is the third stage where stress and anxiety start to develop among the participants. At this stage, the participants have become uncomfortable with the problem and are keen on finding a solution. They are uncomfortable with the status and are willing to engage other parties to find a lasting solution. It is at this stage that the conflict at this institution has reached. The nurses are showing signs of anxiety and stress with the status of affairs. The last stage is a manifest conflict where it is open to the public. This problem has not yet reached this stage.
Strategies to Resolve Conflict
Resolving this conflict can be very simple, but it requires the full attention of the nursing administrators at this institution. The best way of addressing this problem would be for the administrator to create a forum for all the nurses where they shall discuss issues affecting their work at this hospital. The main focus will be to address the current problem that these nurses have been complaining about (Brooker & Waugh, 2013).
They will be expected to find a common solution in such forums. Engaging all the nurses in finding the solution makes it possible to implement the resolutions from such forums. The aim will be to have policy recommendations that must be observed by all the nurses. The forum will define what nurses in every shift are expected of every time they report to work, and what they should do before handing over patients to the next group. The nurses will also give suggestions about the measures to be taken in case any of the nurses goes against the set policies.
Determining if Delegation Was an Issue in the Conflict
It is clear that delegation was part of the problem that has led to the current conflict among the nurses in this hospital. The management delegated the responsibility of nurse management at the ward level to the supervisors. The managers expect the supervisors to address any conflicts and concerns of the nurses as soon as they arise. However, it is apparent that the supervisors are not doing what is expected of them. The management unit is not following up to determine if the work delegated to the nurses is done as per the expectation. That is why the top managers are still not aware of this problem.
Collaborating With a Nurse Leader to Reach Consensus on the Best Strategy
As suggested in the section above, collaborating with a nurse leader may help reach a consensus on the best strategy. Given the position of authority that the leader holds within this institution, the leader has the power to influence the nurses to embrace the suggested solution. The leader can talk to the nurses and supervisors to collaborate in ensuring that patients are offered the best services when they visit this institution.
The rationale for Selecting the Best Strategy
The decision to find a solution through an interactive forum of nurses and their leaders is the best strategy. As Zaccagnini and White (2016) say, conflicts are best resolved when the conflicting parties are allowed to participate in finding a solution. In this case, the strategy chosen will bring together all the stakeholders to this problem. When this strategy is used, all the participants will own the policies that will be developed. They will feel that they participated in finding a solution and hence they will support the process of implementation. They will also address the mistrust that might have started developing among the nurses.
The current conflict among the nurses at this hospital threatens the fabric that defines the workplace environment at this institution. It is important for the leaders of this institution to bring together all the stakeholders involved in a forum with the aim of finding a common solution acceptable to all. Involving the stakeholders in finding the solution makes it easy to implement the set policies. The nurses will also feel respected if they are actively involved in the resolution process.
Austin, W., Boyd, M., & Austin, W. (2010). Psychiatric & mental health nursing for Canadian practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Brooker, C., & Waugh, A. (2013). Foundations of nursing practice: Fundamentals of holistic care. New York, NY: Springer.
Porter, T., & Malloch, K. (2016). Leadership in nursing practice: Changing the landscape of health care. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Zaccagnini, M. E., & White, K. W. (2016). The doctor of nursing practice essentials: A new model for advanced practice nursing. London, UK: McMillan.