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Conflict Resolution in a Care Delivery Setting


Despite numerous intentions to create effective working environments and build trustful relationships between employees and clients, conflicts turn out to be inevitable in many care delivery settings. Some hospitals have good leaders and managers who are able to identify problems and predict negative outcomes. In some facilities, the process of conflict resolution is characterized by complex evaluations and decisions.

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Conflicts occur because of a lack of communication, poor training, or a wrong understanding of duties and tasks. As a result, conflicts may be organizational, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Each type has its own management type, effects on people, and lessons. In this paper, unresolved conflict in one of the Miami hospitals, Mercy Miami Hospital, will be analyzed from the point of its type, stages, resolution strategies, and the role of nurses and delegation in the development of a conflicting situation in order to clarify how to achieve successful outcomes in the future.

Conflict Details

In the emergency department of Mercy Miami Hospital, there are more than 50 beds. A team should be ready to work with a large number of patients at the same time. However, when several people start working with one patient, certain conflicts or misunderstandings take place. One doctor admits that the patient needs a CT and another doctor focuses on the condition of the heart. One nurse is asked to introduce the results of X-rays, and another nurse has to deal with blood tests. Though the department updates wait time every 30 minutes, even the most organized actions can fail (Mercy Hospital, 2018).

The results of such multiple tasks and several people who can work on the same case are frustrating. In this case, two nurses and two surgeons start a conflict, discussing their direct and indirect duties. The lack of communication and the absence of one leader is the main causes of such phrases as “Who is responsible for…?” or “Where are the results of…?” Patients may not observe the staff’s panic or disorder. Still, they can experience delayed care or the development of new signs and complications.

Regarding the characteristics of a situation and the grounds of conflicts between the departments, it is possible to say that it is an organizational type of conflict. When a conflict is ineffectively managed in the setting, a threat of successful teamwork occurs (Grubaugh & Flynn, 2018). In this case, poorly organized work and misguided personnel provoke an ongoing conflict based on regular competition for resources, patients, and duties and the lack of clear dialogues and urgent care plans. This type is chosen as it involves several people from different departments, and its management and resolution can improve the work of each person in a team, as well as the whole team.

Four Stages of Conflict

When people come to the emergency care department, they expect to observe a professional team of medical workers who know how to help and with what assessment to begin. Conflict is a common stressor for nurses and patients (Johansen & Cadmus, 2015). The quality and safety of patients are promoted by the absence of conflicts and unclear situations. Therefore, each stage of organizational conflict has to be recognized and resolved in the shortest period of time.

Latent conflict is the first stage when people cannot decide on their roles and provoke new unnecessary competitions in the setting. In this particular conflict example, the participants are confused because of the impossibility to identify their goals quickly and organize their actions respectfully. The next stage is perceived when one party of a conflict is ready to blame another party for all mistakes and misunderstandings.

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Communication is the best method to find a solution at this stage of a conflict. The felt stage includes the personalization of the conflict. When two people understand their roles and say about them aloud, they cannot come to one particular consensus and continue proving their rights and the correctness of their decisions. Finally, manifest conflict occurs when some responses should be observed. In this case, nurses and doctors may demonstrate their disobedience to rules and ask for open organizational debates to identify the roles and responsibilities of each team member.

Strategies for Conflict Resolution

Many nurses suffer from unresolved conflicts and undefined reasons for stress. They experience multiple cases of dysfunction and cannot manage their professional problems. Though delegation is an issue in the conflict, and it has to be addressed during resolution, it is not its main part. Delegation is a frequently used explanation of conflicts by many managers. However, delegation in hospital settings may have its roots, and in order to resolve conflicts, the cause of delegation has to be identified.

There are many ways to determine organizational problems, and some strategies to resolve the conflict are focused on collaboration and communication. Twigg and McCullough (2014) recommend the development of collegial relationships as one of the possible approaches to reduce the negative outcomes of conflicts. This type of relationship can be improved with the help of interdisciplinary meetings, collaborative practices, and legally approved protocols (Twigg & McCullough, 2014).

Role modeling and honest communication are the methods introduced by Grubaugh and Flynn (2018). This strategy aims at developing effective decisions and recognizing the resources that play a crucial role in the delivery of emergency care. Finally, the improvement of special skills through training and coaching is an obligatory step for nurses and other medical workers (Johansen & Cadmus, 2015). In total, conflict resolution has to be organized in three main stages: open communication, recognition of resources, and future training.

In this case, collaboration with a nurse leader is essential for reaching a consensus and evaluating the conflict. A leader has to recognize and explain the mistakes different team members make in regards to care that is offered to patients. A leader should stay unbiased to every party in the conflict. Finally, a nurse leader usually does not have access to the whole care process but observes the backgrounds and results. Such awareness helps to make the right and objective decisions.


In general, the experience with such an organizational conflict in one of the hospitals in Miami is a good chance to learn what nurses should and should not do. Emergency care units are complex, and effective collaboration between the departments is the key to positive care outcomes. Sometimes, it is hard to discuss all concerns openly, and nurses make the decisions that question their professionalism or the experiences of other medical workers. Conflict resolution should not be spontaneous and thorough research and evaluations can be helpful in this case. The strategies that include communication, training, and role distinguishing can be used by nurses in their intentions to reduce the number of organizational conflicts in their settings.


Grubaugh, M. L., & Flynn, L. (2018). Relationships among nurse manager leadership skills, conflict management, and unit teamwork. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 48(7/8), 383-388. Web.

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Johansen, M. L., & Cadmus, E. (2015). Conflict management style, supportive work environments and the experience of work stress in emergency nurses. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(2), 211–218. Web.

Mercy Hospital. (2018). Emergency care. Web.

Twigg, D., & McCullough, K. (2014). Nurse retention: A review of strategies to create and enhance positive practice environments in clinical settings. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(1), 85–92. Web.

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