Conflicts are an indispensable part of any working environment. In the nursing profession, researchers outline several types of conflicts: intrapersonal – occurring within one individual, intragroup within one group, and intergroup between two or more groups (Higazee, 2015). Aside from that, conflicts can be competitive when groups or individuals compete for resources to reach a common goal. Disruptive conflicts are a natural consequence of a person’s attempts to defeat the opponent (Higazee, 2015). Each type of conflict has both negative and positive implications. Traditionally, conflicts have been seen in a negative light, which still stands true to some extent. Indeed, when occurring within one person, a conflict can decrease his or her job performance and lower professional satisfaction. Inter- and intra-group conflicts are disruptive to the workflow.
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On the bright side, however, conflicts expose vulnerabilities of a system. They give a voice to those who might have downplayed their dissatisfaction. A conflict that is properly managed opens a much-needed discussion and can bring improvement to a facility. On a personal level, resolving a conflict promotes growth and maturity. Both sides of a conflict make a conscious effort to understand each other and be more empathetic of each other’s problems and challenges.
The nursing profession is regulated by the Nurse Practice Act. The Act promotes transformational leadership in nurses and emphasizes the importance of problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills. However, as stated in the document, with great power comes great responsibility. Among the disciplinary cases listed in the Act are practice-related cases – breakdowns and errors in nursing practice. A nursing leader is in charge of more work processes than a regular nurse, and his or her mistake may be quite costly. The Nurse Practice Act states that nursing leaders who failed to conduct their duties may face a fine or civil penalty, limitation or restriction of practice, or separation from practice (“What US RNs need to know,” n.d.).
Higazee, M. Z. A. (2015). Types and levels of conflicts experienced by nurses in the hospital settings. Health Science Journal, 9(6), 1.
What US RNs need to know: The Nurse Practice Act. (n.d.). Web.