Leadership Conflict Management in the Nursing Field Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3122 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Healthcare

Leadership -- Conflict Management in the Field of Nursing

The Tools for Dealing with a Host of Conflicts

The Impact of these Principles on a Health Care Environment

A major challenge that all nurses will face in the field of health care is conflict management. The reason why is from interacting with everyone inside a health care environment more than any other staff member. This means that during the course of performing their daily tasks is when the odds are high of the nurse experiencing some kind of abuse. In most cases, this occurs through: patients being verbally abusive or doctors making comments that are considered harassing in nature. Evidence of this can be seen with the fact that 90% of nurses reported some form of verbal abuse at least once a year. Out of this number, 30% reported that this kind of abuse came from interacting with doctors. This is in the form of inappropriate comments or touching. These figures are significant in showing how nurses must be able to have effective conflict management skills.

As a result, all nurses need to possess certain attributes that will help them to always deal with these kinds of situations. To determine the most appropriate tactics requires looking at specific tools that can be utilized during the process and the impact that it will have on the health care environment. Together, these elements will provide the greatest insights as to how a nurse should be using these techniques to improve conflict management.


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For all nurses, learning effective conflict management is one of the keys for ensuring that situations do not spiral out of control. The main issue is from patients and staff members, who are stressed out, about the events that are unfolding. This increases the chances of some kind of conflict occurring inside with these frustrations boiling over. Once this happens, is when there will be the possibility of some kind of conflict. This is when there is the chance that a situation could become verbally abusive eventually turning into violence. (Rancer, 2010, pp. 245 -- 246)

Term Paper on Leadership Conflict Management in the Nursing Field Assignment

A good example of this can be seen in a study that was conducted by U.S. Department of Labor. They found that health care environments are one of the most likely places for conflicts to occur from:

The pervasiveness of handguns (which is as high as 25%).

A conflict about patients taking their medication.

Low staffing.

Health care staff working in remote locations with the patient (such as Hospice).

Long wait times for treatment.

Unrestricted movement of the public inside health care facilities. (Rancer, 2010, pp. 245 -- 246)

These elements are highlighting how there are a number of ways that conflicts can occur inside a health care environment. To prevent a situation from spiraling out of control requires conducting conflict management. This is when nurses can be able to effectively deal with a host of situations and reduce the chances of an incident taking place. (Rancer, 2010, pp. 245 -- 246)

The Tools for Dealing with a Host of Conflicts

To effectively deal with these issues requires using a number of techniques in conjunction with one another. The most notable include: accommodation, pressing, avoidance and negotiation. The combination of these elements can be used in combination with one another to address a variety of situations that will be encountered. Those individuals who are able to master these skills will reduce the chances of situations spiraling out of control. This is when the odds are decrease of having some kind of verbal or physical confrontation. (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)


Accommodation is one of the more popular conflict resolution strategies used in a health care environment. The basic idea is to give the other party whatever they want in the hope that it will go away. For example, if a patient is demanding to see a doctor and is becoming verbally abusive most health care professionals will find someone that can assist them. In the majority of cases, this could be a resident, who is helping to tone down the patient's intensity. (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)

The problem with using this approach is that the other party could feel emboldened by these actions and begin demanding more. Using the previous example, the patient could become upset with the fact that they are speaking with a resident vs. An experienced physician. They could also believe that their aggressive behavior from earlier is being rewarded. Once this happens, is when there is the possibility that the conflict could begin to escalate out of control. (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)

To prevent these kinds of situations, a nurse must be able to let the other party know that you will accommodate them. The reason why is because this strategy will help to defuse the situation. However, once the patient has calmed down is when you will assist them. This will help to change the intensity of conversation and refocus the patient. It is at this point that the conflict will have been toned down and effective communication can occur. (Herzog, 2000, pp. 162 -- 166) (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)


Pressing is when the nurse will have the flexibility to create relationships with everyone out of their own self-interest. This means that an individual will work with others and certain groups based upon what they can do for them. For example, inside a health care organization is often a sub-culture of doctors, nurses, administrators and hospital personnel. A nurse who is thinking about career advancement will often use this flexibility to forge alliances because of convenience. This helps to give the appearance that they are a team player. Yet, in reality these individuals are not. Once a particular person or organization is not a benefit to them, is when they will no longer have any interest in the other party's well-being (creating a win - lose situation). (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)

In a health care environment, this kind of behavior should never be tolerated. The reason why is because, everyone will become focused on their own self-interests and ignore the needs of patients. This is when the overall quality of care will decline. To prevent these situations from happening requires focusing on limiting individual self-interests inside the organization. The best way that this can be achieved is to encourage everyone to work together and create win -- win situations. This will show honesty and integrity. While at the same time, it is forging critical alliances with staff members inside the organization. Over the course of time, this will change the atmosphere and focus of everyone by demonstrating true leadership. (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486) (Heidi, 2008, pp. 250 -- 257) (O'Mara, 1999, pp. 451 -- 459)

These elements are important in illustrating how forging alliances and improving communication can change the environment inside the organization. The way that this can be used to reduce conflict is to effectively listen to the other party and then objectively communicate your thoughts. This will help to form a bridge of trust (creating the setting for a win -- win situation to develop).


Avoidance is when the nurse believes that if they ignore the problem long enough that it will go away. In some situations, this kind of strategy is effective in dealing with certain individuals (such as an irrational patient that is talking to themselves). However, the problem with using this basic approach is that this could create even larger issues in the future. The main reason is because these problems have been compounded and there is concern about the lack of action. This gives the appearance that the nurse does not care or have the skills necessary in dealing with these problems. (Cavanaugh, 1988, pp. 118 -- 123) (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)

For example, in a busy health care environment an inexperienced nurse could have communication issues with a family. In these kinds of situations, they could tell them that the procedure should last three hours. However, once the surgery begins is when it takes much longer than expected. During this process, is when the nurse does not communicate with the family and ignores their requests for information. This only makes the situation worse based on the lack of communication that is taking place. (Cavanaugh, 1988, pp. 118 -- 123) (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)

To avoid these kinds of problems, nurses need to be able to understand when certain issues can be ignored. This means placing a priority on everything involving care and critical treatment at the facility. While in situations that are deemed as unimportant can be overlooked (i.e. keeping up with latest gossip among the staff). This is prioritizing how nurses can be able to reduce conflict by showing that they are a team player (who is willing to do more). (Cavanaugh, 1988, pp. 118 -- 123) (Daniels, 2004, pp. 485 -- 486)

Another example of avoidance can be seen with… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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