When lack of proper interaction or misunderstanding arise between two or more individuals, it leads to a conflict. Besides, when people differ in their ideas, ethics or definite goals, they may end up in a conflict. In a hospital, conflicts between nurses occur mostly due to poor communication, contradiction in ideas, lack of resources and work stress.
Resolving conflicts in any workplace especially in the clinical world is no small thing. Even a small misunderstanding or disagreement in ideas may develop into much larger issues.
Conflict is Typical. It is not legit to expect everyone to agree on everything. So, learning to deal with conflict will create a healthy environment.
Setting up of ground rules, agreeing on values and exchanging feelings and ideas in a relevant way helps resolve conflicts.
Accepting mistakes, taking responsibility for committed errors, respecting one another, readiness to forgive, seeking solutions are helpful in resolving a conflict.
A nurse may often get into a situation where he/she will have to work with a difficult member of a health care team. In such a situation, the wise thing to do is to respond rather than react. Understanding one’s work load and trying to connect to know more about the challenges the other person is facing is critical in conflict resolution. As much as the management plays a vital role in it, it is the individual’s effort that makes a difference. Solving an issue together always beats solving it on one’s own.
It is quite common for a health care worker to get stressed because of criticism from a patient or family members of a particular patient. Dealing with criticism is a significant part of dealing with stress that arises due to conflicts.
A nurse may get criticism from a patient or patient’s family when they are dissatisfied with the treatment. This could be prevented when the treatment plan is already discussed in detail with the patients and their family. While doing so, it is advisable to listen to the patients’ concern patiently and assure them that their fears are noted. Convincing patients that the treatment methods involved are the safest and most appropriate, is a crucial role of a health care worker.
Even after doing all this, some conflicts may arise. It is highly important for nurses to consult with the doctors involved and the management when they are faced with conflicts with patients that they cannot solve. Transparency is the key and no issue is beyond solution.
Nursing is a profession of love and care and not everyone can master it. Tolerance and patience are not an option and that is why high stress is also not an option. Trainings and workshop on Conflict Resolution can be one of the many ways a Management could choose, to keep their nurses adept.