The present paper is devoted to a case study of the Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) involvement in conflict resolution. As a leader, a PMHNP possesses many competencies that can help to resolve a conflict. Some of these competencies include decision-making and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to effectively and actively listen, communicate one’s position, and solicit the opinions of others.
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The obvious outcomes of effective conflict management include the development of workplace relationships (which include interprofessional ones), the enhancement of teamwork, and, eventually, the continuous improvement of the quality of care (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2011, p. 26). Given the fact that conflicts are rather common in interprofessional settings (AACN, 2011, p. 24), the mentioned competencies also help to avoid the deterioration of the mentioned relationships, teamwork, and quality of care. Thus, the study of the role of PMHNP in conflict management is helpful.
A case study that I want to propose involves a conflict between a psychiatrist and me; it is concerned with the prescription of a combination of two antipsychotics in the case of a patient experiencing an intellectual disability with psychotic features. The combination of antipsychotics is vastly understudied, but there is some evidence to it being associated with increased risks and side-effects (Bennekom, Gijsman, & Zitman, 2013).
There is also some inconsistent evidence which indicates that certain combinations can be more effective than the use of one drug; also, such combinations are used for augmentation and can successfully reduce present side-effects (Atta-ur-Rahman & Choudhary, 2013). To sum up, the situation is a strong ground for conflict because the guidelines in this respect are rather vague and demand customization, which can be interpreted differently by different specialists, especially if their professional areas differ (AACN, 2011, p. 24). Thus, the proposed case is an example of an interprofessional conflict.
The event calls for the use of the communication and problem-solving skills as well as shared decision-making (AACN, 2011, p. 26). The participants of this conflict must be respectful, which corresponds to the sixth Communication Competency of AACN (2011); both should communicate their knowledge effectively, clearly, and confidently, which corresponds to the third Communication Competency.
I suppose that the PMHNP who is involved in the process can lead the process and encourage the opponent to share their opinion. Also, both participants need to be active listeners, which corresponds to the fourth Communication Competency. In the end, the dilemma should be resolved after the appropriate treatment that satisfies both professionals is found. In retrospect, I believe that our communication with the psychiatrist mostly corresponded to the communication competencies described by the AACN (2011).
In my case, the conflict management may have been facilitated by the fact that our relationship with the psychiatrist is rather good. There was no leadership or authority conflict, which could complicate the event. The AACN (2011) points out that it is not always the case, but the management of the conflict in an open, constructive way is a requirement for effective work and the achievement of patient-centered goals (p. 24).
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Indeed, this kind of conflict management is obviously patient-oriented; the presence of the conflict implies that the prescriptions are carefully controlled, and its successful management has the potential for improving and further customizing treatment to meet the patient’s needs. In the case, I forwarded the understanding and deep analysis of the prescription issues by employing communicative skills (clear and assertive communication of my position and attentive listening to that of my opponent), which resolved the conflict and triggered effective teamwork that resulted in a meaningful problem-solving activity.
American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2011). Core competencies for interprofessional collaboration practice. Web.
Atta-ur-Rahman., & Choudhary, M. (2013). Frontiers in CNS drug discovery volume 2. Sharjah, UAE: Bentham Science Publishers.
Bennekom, M., Gijsman, H., & Zitman, F. (2013). Antipsychotic polypharmacy in psychotic disorders: a critical review of neurobiology, efficacy, tolerability and cost effectiveness. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 27(4), 327-336. Web.