Description of the Conflict
Conflicts in healthcare settings are usually common and affect the quality of care available to targeted clients. The targeted unresolved conflict emerged from the unfair treatment of caregivers by their Nurse Manager (NM). One of the affected nurses stated clearly that the workplace was characterized by injustices and unfairness. The existing conflict affected the morale of different nurses. Consequently, the situation affected the health outcomes of the patients.
According to the complainant, the NM was not providing adequate resources to some of the nurses. The malpractice made it impossible for healthcare workers to focus on the changing needs of the children admitted in the pediatric ward. This kind of conflict can be termed as “competitive or intra-group in nature” (Anderson, 2015, p. 173). Competitive conflicts are usually common in many healthcare settings and affect the performance of different nurses. The presence of conflicts minimizes the productivity of healthcare workers. The identified conflict was making it impossible for the healthcare organization to realize its potentials.
Details of the Conflict
The targeted conflict occurred in the institution’s pediatric ward. The issue emerged when one of the female nurses in the ward indicated that the nurse manager (NM) was unfair. The nurse stated clearly that the NM was biased whenever providing technological resources, guidelines, and incentives to the caregivers (Johansen, 2012). The individual indicated that the manager was supporting specific nurses from various racial backgrounds. The NM favored some nurses and recommended them for promotions. The affected nurse was unhappy because the NM was not supporting her professional demands.
This malpractice was making it impossible for the nurse to achieve her professional goals. The situation continued to affect her capabilities and skills. The absence of various nursing resources and materials made it hard for her to engage in continuous learning. The most discouraging thing was that the NM was supporting the professional needs of specific nurses (Johansen, 2012). Consequently, the nature of communication in the ward was affected significantly. Some of the nurses stopped talking with one another. The caregivers were unable to support the goals of their respective teams. The malpractice made the working environment unbearable and incapable of supporting the health needs of the targeted patient.
Stages of Conflict
There are several stages of the conflict. The first stage outlined by Finkelman’s model is the latent conflict. This stage is characterized by “specific catalysts such as role conflict and competition for scarce resources” (Higazee, 2015, p. 3). The second stage is known as the perceived conflict. During this stage, some individuals believe strongly that their workmates are trying to frustrate or thwart their objectives. If appropriate measures are not undertaken, the situation can get out of hand and affect performance (Higazee, 2015).
Consequently, the conflict progresses to the next phase or stage. The third stage is felt conflict. During this stage, the conflict is experienced or cognized. Hostile feelings are usually observed throughout this phase. The affected individuals find it hard to collaborate and focus on the targeted goals (Hetzler, Messina, & Smith, 2014). The fourth stage is called the manifest conflict. This stage is associated with withdrawal, aggression, and sabotage. Evidence-based and appropriate resolution strategies must be used during this phase to support the affected individuals.
From the above analysis, it is notable that the targeted conflict in the fourth phase. This is true because the healthcare setting is characterized by conflicts of interest. Strained communication and interaction continue to affect this facility. The conflict can be felt because the affected individuals continue to portray hostile feelings (DeMarr & Janasz, 2013). Since the conflict has progressed, the nurses in the ward are showing signs of unrest, aggression, and disobedience. The professionals are therefore unable to focus on the patients’ needs.
It is undeniable that delegation remains a critical issue in this conflict. The current challenge affecting the healthcare setting has been catalyzed by poor leadership. The NM has been unable to treat the followers equally (Anderson, 2015). The issue of delegation has not been taken seriously. Incidentally, the NM has failed to act ethically and address the diverse needs of the followers. Due to a lack of proper guidance, the nurses have become disoriented and unmotivated. These issues have continued to affect the effectiveness of the institution.
Strategies for Conflict Resolution
The conflict existing in this hospital has affected the quality of services available to different patients. If the conflict is not addressed in a timely manner, more nurses will be unable to address the health needs of their respective patients. That being the case, adequate strategies should be considered to deal with this conflict. To begin with, the affected workers should be guided to engage in meaningful discussions (Brown et al., 2011).
The discussions will be guided by the leaders in the institution. New changes are needed since the nurses are not collaborating to deliver quality medical support. The NM should also be included throughout the discussions. The leaders in the institution will outline the best practices and ethical approaches to support every caregiver. Communication is an evidence-based practice that has been embraced in different settings to deal with organizational conflicts. Positive communication makes it easier for employees to address their differences, support one another, and focus on the targeted goals.
The second strategy that can produce positive outcomes is the use of mediation. The mediation process should be aimed at addressing the differences existing between the NM and his followers. The leader of the institution should be aware of the mediation process (Brown et al., 2011). The NM will be required to describe the challenges affecting the pediatric department. Similarly, nurses will be encouraged to present their grievances.
The mediation process will ensure the existing gaps are identified and addressed. The participants will be empowered to promote the best practices. The NM will be guided to support his followers equally. New arrangements and transfers should be embraced in order to ensure the nurses are ready to work as a team. Mediation is a powerful approach “because it encourages the affected parties to compromise” (Johansen, 2012, p. 52). The approach makes it easier for them to understand the existing differences and promote new practices that can address the conflict.
The Nurse Leaders (NLs) in the institution will be required to act as third parties. They will offer meaningful ideas and concepts that can tackle the conflict. The collaboration will make the conflict resolution process successful. These strategies will empower the affected nurses and make it easier for them to focus on every goal. The decision to engage the affected parties throughout the conflict resolution process will deliver positive results. Organizational leaders should be included in each and every conflict resolution process (Hetzler et al., 2014). Such leaders will find it easier to identify and address the causal factors in the institution. The implemented changes will, therefore, address the existing conflicts and ensure eminent health services are available to the targeted patients.
Summary About the Experience
The above experience outlines a set of approaches that can be used to deal with conflict in different healthcare settings. For instance, healthcare leaders should focus on the best strategies to prevent conflicts before they happen. This is the case because the NM’s misbehaviors catalyzed the conflict experienced in the facility. NMs should act ethically and promote equality in the workplace to prevent similar conflicts (Higazee, 2015). When such conflicts arise, leaders should address them using the most desirable strategies. Mediation is a powerful approach that brings the affected parties together. The approach identifies new practices that can streamline the operations undertaken in the organization.
The other lesson gained from this experience is that all individuals should be involved throughout the conflict resolution process. The strategy will promote desirable practices such as positive communication, teamwork, and collaboration (Anderson, 2015).
Effective communication is critical towards dealing with the misunderstandings and conflicts experienced in different working environments. This approach encourages stakeholders to address their differences and focus on targeted goals. Finally, the analysis has explained why “leaders should deal with conflicts before they get out of hand” (Johansen, 2012, p. 53). The practice will ensure the health services available to different clients are not compromised. In conclusion, these ideas will make it easier for me to address a wide range of conflicts in the future.
Anderson, L. (2015). Understanding hospital-based nurses’ experiences of structural divergence. The Qualitative Report, 20(3), 172-185.
Brown, J., Lewis, L., Ellis, K., Stewart, M., Freeman, T., & Kasperski, J. (2011). Conflict on inter-professional primary health care teams: can it be resolved? Journal of Interprofessional Care, 24(1), 4-10.
DeMarr, B., & Janasz, S. (2013). Negotiation and dispute resolution. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hetzler, D., Messina, D., & Smith, K. (2014). Conflict management in hospital systems: not just for leadership. Web.
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.