When two and more people need to cooperate while performing their duties, conflicts are inescapable. It is vital for employees to be able to recognize and resolve them because they can lead to the loss of productivity, preventing appropriate cooperation and collaboration in the future. Effective conflict-resolution strategies can provide the involved parties with an opportunity to improve the observed situation and make issues escalate. In the sphere of healthcare, conflicts affect not only nurses’ performance but also health outcomes of other people.
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Type of the Conflict
While working in one of Miami hospitals as a nurse professional, I have experienced and observed various types of conflicts. Intrapersonal ones occurred when I failed to understand how to act and believed several options to be correct. For example, when I made decisions related to my career path, I spent a lot of time dealing with my inner struggles. Intragroup and intergroup conflicts were also present, as healthcare professionals who worked in teams sometimes had different views on how one and the same goal should be achieved. However, the conflict that I remember the best was an interpersonal one, and it occurred between two nurses.
They had different personalities, which affected the way they reacted to the situation. This was a conflict in communication that had an adverse influence on the nurses’ cooperation and performance. Because of it, they did not communicate with one another at all for about a week. With the course of time, the situation improved to some degree, but no significant enhancement was observed as they minimalized their interactions as much as possible and an obvious tension remained. The fact that something was wrong was noticeable, as previously they often asked each other for advice and spoke about different things not related to work. Both women involved in the conflict looked rather detached and frustrated. Nevertheless, they would not do anything to improve the situation.
Detailed Description of the Conflict
The discussed conflict occurred between two nurses (A and B) while they were performing their duties in one of Miami hospitals. Nurse A was in her patient’s room with several students who were supervised by her. They were discussing patient’s condition when Nurse B came and asked Nurse A why she had not accomplished particular tasks yet and what made her be so slow. She revealed her dissatisfaction in a rather rude manner in front of the students, which offended Nurse A, made her feel degraded, and affected the way the learners treated her adversely. Nurse A did not say anything, as Nurse B left the room immediately. Right after this situation, both of them acted as if nothing has happened: they did not explain their behavior or tried to contact each other.
This conflict remained unresolved for a long time. It can be proved by the fact that nothing was done in order to improve the situation by either of them. The nurses just stopped interacting and, as far as I know, they have never talked to each other about this issue. There was no attempt to apologize or ask for clarifications, which also supports my point of view. Moreover, this conflict was recurring, as the same situation happened twice between these nurses. Even though they tried to avoid each other, these women spoiled their relationships one more time in a similar situation. Moreover, two other professionals faced an interpersonal conflict that was not resolved. In this case, they managed to interact further, but their relationships became less trustful and positive.
Stages of the Conflict
According to Finkelman (2015), this conflict can be divided into four stages, including:
- Latent conflict. It deals with those factors that could have led to the development of the conflict between these nurses. Even though it is not likely to be present in the currently discussed situation, these might have been: differences in personalities, willingness to be autonomic, and divergence of goals.
- Perceived conflict. In some cases, conflicts arise immediately with no latent stage. This situation aligned with the case, as Nurse B, provoked the conflict when she described her dissatisfaction with the impropriate manner. The main problem was that she ignored the fact that Nurse A was with her students, and this remark damaged her reputation and authority.
- Felt conflict. The personalization of the conflict happened when Nurse B revealed her dissatisfaction aloud. Before this episode, the conflict was not felt by Nurse A, as it existed only in the mind of Nurse B.
- Manifest conflict. This stages took place when both nurses started ignoring and treating each other with apathy.
The described conflict is associated with communication, and a delegation was not an issue. Even if Nurse A was to carry out some specific activities, the conflict occurred not because she failed to cope with them in time, but because Nurse B admonished her in front of the students. There is a high possibility that if they were alone in the room, Nurse A would not be offended by the remark.
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Strategies for Conflict Resolution
In order to improve the situation and resolve the existing conflict between the nurses, it is vital to make them communicate and discuss the situation so that they can understand each other’s point of view. First of all, they should discuss the situation in private so that the presence of other people does not affect their honesty and willingness to find a resolution. As they do not interact, other people should encourage them to make a step forward, explaining that their relationships have negative effects on their performance and patient health outcomes.
If the nurses, fail to find a common language in this way, they should try written communication. Hot temper may prevent Nurse B from being attentive to her colleague, but this problem can be easily overcome if she will write or type a message. Moreover, both of them will have a chance to select proper words and tell everything they want.
As a similar issue in communication was observed by other professionals as well, it will be advantageous for the hospital administration to organize training for healthcare personnel. During the program, they should be taught how to prevent and resolve conflicts so that they do not affect the workflow adversely (Iglesias & Vallejo, 2012).
Moreover, it can be possible to involve a nurse leader in the conflict resolution. She may act as a mediator between Nurse A and Nurse B (Radulescu, 2015). Being a third party, she may be the one who encourages the nurses to communicate and speak up. If they fail to overcome the problem without assistance, she should set up a mediation session and share her ideas.
Summary and Conclusion
This experience made me realize how vital appropriate communication and well-developed problem-solving skills are. I understood that conflicts should never be ignored because they affect people’s relationships adversely. I realized that they could be identified before personalization and prevented. Moreover, I managed to develop several ideas of how conflicts can be resolved. Firstly, additional training programs on emotional intelligence can be rather effective, as people have different reactions due to their characters (Basogul & Özgür, 2016). Secondly, it is possible to organize recreational activities for the staff members to improve their relationships without the pressure of their duties.
Basogul, C., & Özgür, G. (2016). Role of emotional intelligence in conflict management strategies of nurses. Asian Nursing Research, 10(3) 228-233.
Finkelman, A. (2015). Leadership and management for nurses: Core competencies for quality care. Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.
Iglesias, M., & Vallejo, R. (2012). Conflict resolution styles in the nursing profession. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal for the Australian Nursing Profession, 43(1), 73-80.
Radulescu, D. (2015). Mediation: An amiably way of resolution of conflicts Knowledge Horizons. Economics, 5(2), 87-90.