Conflict Resolution in Healthcare Workplace

Introduction

The organization culture promoted in a specific healthcare institution dictates the behaviors, actions, and processes embraced by its nurses and caregivers. More often than not, conflicts occur and eventually affect the nature of healthcare delivery (Higazee, 2015). Such conflicts reduce the morale of the affected healthcare workers. The facility finds it hard to achieve its objectives. Health administrators should use adequate measures in order to address every identified challenge. This discussion describes a conflict that has occurred in my working environment.

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The Recurring Conflict

I have observed a specific conflict that continues to affect the quality of care available to more patients. The targeted conflict has been caused by the leader of our department. The head nurse has been biased whenever supporting the needs of the followers. Nurses and caregivers from minority races have been ignored or avoided by the leader. This kind of malpractice has created a new conflict in the targeted department. It is noticeable that the affected nurses have become discontented with the situation. Consequently, the relationship between minority and white nurses has deteriorated (Higazee, 2015). This kind of conflict shows conclusively that delegation is a major problem in the department. The conflict has escalated due to the biased distribution of medical resources. Consequently, the quality of healthcare delivery in the department has been affected. Many patients have been unable to receive timely treatment or support from the department (Anderson, 2015). Unless new measures are identified to deal with conflict, the department will be unable to realize the targeted goals.

Details of the Conflict

The conflict revolves around the issue of empowerment or leadership. The head nurse in the department has been the cause of the conflict. The leader has been biased, especially when providing resources and guidance to the nurses. The affected members of the department have become unhappy with the situation. The conflict has occurred in the outpatient department. Consequently, the services available to targeted patients are no longer sustainable (Anderson, 2015). The grievances presented by the nurses and patients show clearly that the conflict affecting the department is still unresolved.

Type of Conflict: Rationale

The type of conflict presented is intrapersonal in nature. This is the case because it involves different people working in the same department. The individuals are unhappy because they are not receiving the required support from their leader (Anderson, 2015). This kind of conflict usually occurs when there is competition for resources. Additionally, intrapersonal conflicts result in dissatisfaction and loss of morale.

Stages of Conflict

Conflict in a working environment develops gradually. This fact explains why the four stages of a given conflict should be clearly understood. The first stage is known as the latent conflict. During the stage, challenges arise from the competition of various resources (Finkelman, 2016). Role conflicts might also occur during this stage. The second stage is known as perceived conflict and occurs when caregivers in a workplace begin to frustrate or discourage one another. The individuals might differ due to their diverse goals (Finkelman, 2016). The third stage is known as the felt conflict (Finkelman, 2016). It is during this stage when a conflict can be identified by outsiders. During the stage, the level of collaboration diminishes completely. The individuals develop harsh feelings towards one another. The last stage is to manifest conflict. The stage portrays inappropriate signs such as aggression, anger, and sabotage.

This analysis shows conclusively that the above conflict is in the fourth stage. This happens to be the case because the conflict can be identified by other people. Anger and sabotage have become common in the department (Finkelman, 2016). The affected nurses are unhappy with the situation. The level of dissatisfaction has increased significantly.

Resolving the Conflict

Several strategies can be used to resolve this conflict. From a personal perspective, I strongly believe that a proper resolution plan focusing on mediation can be used to address the targeted conflict. The process will bring together the affected parties, such as the head nurse, the caregivers, and the practitioners (Anderson, 2015). The affected patients will be involved throughout the process in order to give their views. The next thing will be to promote a problem-solving strategy characterized by effective communication. The individuals will be required to present their grievances and identify new practices that can deal with the conflict.

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The next stage will be to come up with an agreeable solution. The ultimate goal will be to ensure the head nurse understands the importance of cultural competence. The leader will be guided and encouraged to promote inclusiveness (Finkelman, 2016). He will also be guided to apologize and reenergize the team. This approach will eventually address the conflict and support the department’s goals. This strategic approach is evidence-based and has the potential to transform the situation experienced in the department. Consequently, more clients will be able to receive quality health services.

Delegation

As mentioned earlier, the lack of appropriate delegation has affected the performance of the followers. The head nurse was biased whenever empowering the workers. This malpractice discouraged healthcare workers in the department. Most of the available resources were not allocated in a proper manner (Anderson, 2015). It is, therefore, agreeable that proper delegation and change are powerful initiatives that can be used to transform the situation. The head nurse’s inability to delegate various duties and support the needs of the followers led to the conflict. The solution aimed at dealing with the conflict should focus on the best ways to promote the concept of delegation.

Collaborating with a Nurse Leader

As a member of the department, I will collaborate with the nurse leader in order to identify a powerful strategy that can deal with the conflict. The first thing will be to analyze the facts of the conflict. The nurse leader will be informed about the challenges affecting the department and the best approaches to deal with the conflict (Johansen, 2012). Several strategies will be outlined. The process will also attract other stakeholders in the department. By so doing, the nurse leader will be guided in order to come up with an evidence-based resolution strategy (Finkelman, 2016). The next step will be to implement the strategy and deal with the conflict before the situation worsens.

Effective communication will be used to promote the level of collaboration. The process will make it easier for the leader to understand the major gaps or weaknesses affecting the department (Johansen, 2012). This means that the other players in the department will be involved throughout the process. The practice will present new ideas in order to ensure the conflict is addressed in a timely manner.

The rationale for Selecting the Best Strategy

The best approach will be used to select the best strategy. Several indicators will be used to identify the most viable strategy. Some of the indicators will include effectiveness, availability of resources, ability to attract key stakeholders, and inclusiveness. These measures will ensure the identified strategy addresses the conflict (Johansen, 2012). The identified strategy should also be able to support the above change. This means that a powerful change model, such as Kurt Lewin’s theory of freezing, changing, and refreezing, will be used to support the strategy. The ultimate goal will be to ensure positive behaviors emerge in the department.

Conclusion

The occurrence of conflicts in a healthcare delivery environment is something that can affect the quality of care available to the targeted clients. Such conflicts also disorient healthcare workers due to reduced morale and lack of empowerment. It is always necessary to come up with evidence-based solutions to address such conflicts whenever they arise. The conflict experienced in my working environment has revealed the major challenges affecting many hospitals in Miami and across the country. The analysis has made it easier for me to understand the major stages of a conflict. With this knowledge, I can successfully identify the best conflict resolution strategy based on the stage (Higazee, 2015). I now understand the importance of applying evidence-based approaches to address various conflicts in the working environment. Mediation and use of change models can deliver positive results. Whenever addressing conflicts in the future, I will attract the right stakeholders and guide them to identify the best approaches in order to record positive outcomes. My decision to embrace the concept of lifelong learning will support my objectives. The practice will equip me with new concepts that can be used to deal with conflicts in the future.

References

Anderson, L. (2015). Understanding hospital-based nurses’ experiences of structural divergence. The Qualitative Report, 20(3), 172-185.

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Finkelman, A. (2016). Leadership and management for nurses: Cores competencies for quality care. Hoboken, NY: Pearson Education.

Higazee, M. (2015). Types and levels of conflicts experienced by nurses in the hospital settings. Health Science Journal, 1(1), 1-12.

Johansen, M. (2012). Keeping the peace: Conflict management strategies for nurse managers. Nursing Management, 43(2), 50-54.

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