Conflict is an inevitable part of any professional life that involves interaction with other people. This is especially true for healthcare facilities. The hospital can be a very stressful environment for both the doctors and the patients. High levels of stress generate conflicts. Changes cause plenty of stress for all parties involved and are an inseparable part of the process. Transitions from the old ways and procedures towards new ones could be difficult since there are always plenty of details that need to be worked out. Any manager needs to be able to identify conflicts and know ways of predicting and solving them. This is especially true for managers that operate in a hospital setting.
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There are plenty of different reasons for conflict in healthcare. Some of the more common ones include:
- A limited amount of certain resources. Staff shortage could serve as an example. It leads to greater workloads and longer shifts, which builds up stress.
- Different approaches to work. People have different views on how things should be done. This usually leads to a conflict regarding standards and expectations.
- Cultural differences between the employees and the patients. These differences could lead to serious misunderstandings.
- Differences in knowledge and power. These are common due to the hierarchy within most hospitals (The Sources & Costs of Conflict in Nursing, 2011).
All four types of conflicts may arise during change processes conducted within a hospital. Conflicts are very detrimental to the collaborative healthcare efforts. They affect the quality of work by diverting time and attention that could have been spent doing something productive. Also, conflicts hurt the physical and emotional health of all parties involved. Unresolved conflicts could severely slow down the progress of implementing change (Managing Conflicts during Organizational Change, 2013).
The manager has the responsibility of preventing and solving conflicts between different parties, to facilitate cooperation. The recommended way of solving conflicts is through negotiation. Successful negotiation helps coming up to a compromise that is satisfactory to everyone involved. It is very important to make sure there are no hard feelings left. Otherwise, there is a risk of the conflict situation repeating itself (Importance of Conflict Management, 2016).
It is possible to solve conflicts from a position of power. As someone placed higher within the hospital hierarchy, the manager can order conflicting parties to get along. However, using power and hierarchy never really ends a conflict. Instead, it just postpones it. It could be effective as a short-term solution when there is little time to decide who is right and who is wrong. Still, the conflict is bound to rekindle later. Since change is a process that could take a long time, solving conflicts through power is counterproductive (Conflict Management Techniques from the PMBOK Guide, 2014).
I foresee certain conflict situations that might arise during my practicum. Conflicts might arise during the time I am learning and adapting to the standards and regulations of the Kendall Regional Medical Center. Conflict situations with the patients are also possible since my practicum involves the implementation of a Foley Catheter. Most patients find the procedure unpleasant, and certain complications might happen every time it is used. Lastly, I can upset some of the senior staff due to our differences in knowledge and experience.
There are no universal receipts for solving conflicts since every situation has its circumstances. However, I will make sure that whenever such a situation arises, I would attempt to negotiate first, get an understanding of the opposing view, and work towards a compromise. I would solve conflicts through power only when there is no other way, and I would make sure to readdress the conflict in a negotiation once the emergency has passed.
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Conflict Management Techniques from the PMBOK Guide. (2014). Web.
Importance of Conflict Management. (2016). Web.
Managing Conflicts during Organizational Change. (2013). Web.
The Sources & Costs of Conflict in Nursing. (2011). Web.