Conflict in Nursing: Types and Resolution Strategies

A key to conflict management in nursing is to avoid becoming part of the problem. When your team is not getting along, finding an effective resolution requires the nurse manager to stay out of the problem and keep a calm head. Practice your own self-regulating behaviors to ensure you are not escalating the problem.

Conflict Management and Resolution

Types of conflict in nursing

There are three main types of healthcare conflict:

Task-based conflict

When two medical professionals disagree on a technical procedure, task-based conflict results. For instance, a new nurse inserts an IV using a method other than the hospital’s.

Because there may be only one right response, task-based conflicts can sometimes be the simplest to resolve. Despite the fact that nurses may learn a variety of techniques during their training, your organization and nurse manager probably have established standards that they expect all nurses to adhere to. You can ask your nurse manager what methods they prefer, and you or another employee can then modify your approach as necessary.

If there are several viable options, you and your coworker can talk about the various results of both. Sometimes you can help patients even more by working together and combining your methods.

Value-based conflict

Value-based conflict occurs when two nurses have different personal values. For instance, you hear a different nurse discussing personal beliefs that conflict with yours.

Despite the fact that contrasting beliefs and values can lead to tension, the aim of conflict resolution should be to bring about a mutually beneficial change. Try to be sympathetic when speaking with a coworker whose values you don’t share while keeping your shared interests in mind. To make the conversations more fruitful, concentrate on the similarities you share, such as your patients and methods of providing care.

Interpersonal-based conflict

When two people’s personalities or communication styles are drastically different, interpersonal conflict results. Some of these conflicts may be resolved with the aid of good interpersonal skills like tolerance, adaptability, and teamwork.

Interpersonal conflicts can sometimes involve nurse bullying. A mediator, such as a nurse manager or human resources representative, is frequently helpful in these situations to help resolve the conflict.

Why is conflict resolution in nursing important?

To create a successful and secure workplace, nursing must resolve conflicts by

Keeping patients safe

Nursing requires teamwork for effective patient treatment. Nurses communicate daily with doctors, patients and other healthcare professionals. Personal conflicts can arise at any level and make it difficult for teams to work together. A healthcare team can communicate and collaborate more effectively if they have strong resolution skills. Healthcare teams who communicate effectively could reduce patient errors.

Boosting morale

Conflict resolution techniques can lower stress and enhance the working environment for both staff and patients. Many nurses may feel happier and more eager to work with their coworkers if conflict is managed effectively.

Increasing efficiency

A large portion of the workdays of many healthcare workers, including nurses and nurse managers, is spent resolving interpersonal conflicts. Conflict resolution techniques that work well can help patients and their families receive more time and attention. When teams collaborate better, healthcare organizations often see increased productivity.

How to resolve conflicts in nursing

By taking the following actions, you can settle a lot of disputes in nursing:

1. Assess the situation

Make a decision as to whether the issue needs to be addressed before speaking with the other party. Take a moment to reflect on how this issue is affecting you and your workplace. What change are you hoping to bring about by resolving this issue?

2. Understand the conflict

Asking yourself what you want from the conversation and why will help you identify your main concerns and the desired result. Consider the conflict from the opposing viewpoint and the shared objectives, such as effective patient care. You may be able to relate to someone else more if you take into account their point of view, which will make it simpler to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

3. Address the conflict promptly

Once you’ve had some time to think, take action as soon as you can. Do your best to resolve the issue now, before tension develops between you and your healthcare teammate.

4. Reach out to the other party

Set up a time to talk privately. In order to have an honest conversation, try to find a quiet, public area away from patients and other employees. When the conference room or break room is empty, you can ask to speak with your coworker there.

5. State your concerns clearly and calmly

Try to keep in mind that you and your colleague are both in nursing because you both want to provide patient care. Approach the conversation with this shared goal in mind. Uncrossing your arms and maintaining eye contact will help you maintain positive body language.

6. Focus on the issue rather than the person involved

Instead of focusing on the other person, try to discuss your own actions. Instead of saying, “You never fill in the patient chart correctly,” say, “I noticed the patient chart was blank when I started my shift. “You can help keep the conversation about resolution rather than blame by focusing on the actions and issues.

7. Listen with an open mind

When the other person is speaking, listen actively. They may highlight a new perspective. Nod and keep eye contact while displaying an open, neutral facial expression. If you want clarification or additional information, ask a question.

8. Collaborate through dialogue

Try to refocus the conversation after you both have expressed your initial viewpoints on your desired outcomes and jointly come up with steps to get there. By concentrating on commonalities and solutions, you can keep conversation productive. Try to compromise if needed to reach a shared goal.

9. Follow up with others if needed

If you and the other party are having trouble coming to a compromise, think about getting an outside opinion. Look for a neutral third party who can offer an unbiased opinion. If the issue is still not resolved at this point, you might need to ask a manager for assistance.

10. Prevent future conflicts

Conflict management in nursing can be facilitated by honing your interpersonal abilities, such as empathy and active listening. You might avoid some conflicts if you have better communication skills.


What are the 5 conflict resolution strategies in healthcare?

You can resolve many conflicts in nursing by following these steps:
  • Assess the situation. …
  • Understand the conflict. …
  • Address the conflict promptly. …
  • Reach out to the other party. …
  • State your concerns clearly and calmly. …
  • Focus on the issue rather than the person involved. …
  • Listen with an open mind. …
  • Collaborate through dialogue.

Why is conflict resolution important in nursing?

Forcing, accommodating, avoiding, compromising, and cooperating are five typical ways to handle conflict. The use of all of these strategies should become second nature to healthcare managers.

What are the 5 steps to conflict resolution?

A healthy work environment must include conflict resolution because poor communication and collaboration can increase patient errors. ”.

How do you resolve patient conflict?

Conflict Resolution – a 5 Step Process
  1. Clarify the source of the problem. What is the issue at hand? .
  2. Go beyond the conflict and identify other barriers. …
  3. Establish a common goal. …
  4. Explore how they goal can be reached. …
  5. Develop an agreement.

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