Conflict Resolution

Is there dissention on the floor such that it is interferring with hospital procedure?  Do physicians shut down nurses so they feel they cannot speak up?  Do nurses have their own internal wars?  Are there internal battles between different departments as patients get handed off? 


Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there such dissention that it is hampering the hospital's quality?
  • Can nurses and physicians build trusting relationships built on mutual respect?
  • How are departments working through the goals of handing off patients in a collaborative manner?
  • Do the nurses such a lack of power that they are turning to the union for help?
  • Does the operating staff feel empowered to stop surgery if something is not right?


Conflict Resolution Story

I worked with an OB anesthesiologist who had caused quite a lot of conflict with the OB nurses.  The OB nurses were used to women who took care of themselves and their babies.  The hospital merged with an inner-city hospital and the OB nurses now had young mothers who could not take care of themselves much less their babies.  This physician had previously come from another inner city hospital and had experience with labor that can go drastically wrong.  The OB nurses wrote him up over several infractions, including the patient's use of street drugs.  After working with him over a nine-month period, he is now giving lessons to the OB nurses on the steps needed to handle serious labor situations. 


Five Step Conflict Resolution Process:

  1. Enrollment and Relationship Building -- Interviews with the people who are experiencing the conflict and the development of a summary of issues. 
  2. Development of Goals -- Discuss mutual and interlocking needs that will insure quality and safey for all patients
  3. Meetings to Work Through the Conflict Collaboratively -- These meetings could happen all in one session, or may take facilitation over the course of several weeks.  At each meeting, the primary goal of patient quality and safety needs to be paramount. 
  4. Finalizing the Agreement-- Finalize the agreement in writing and make senior leaders aware of the agreement
  5. Evaluation and Next Steps -- Evaluate progress and define the next steps in quality improvements


Resolving Conflicts Together.pdf1.11 MB