When conflicts occur in a department or hospital, healthcare workers find it hard to work as a team. This situation can affect the nature and quality of care available to targeted clients (Higazee, 2015). It is always appropriate for health administrators (HAs) to come up with adequate conflict resolution strategies. This discussion gives a detailed analysis of a conflict that was observed in a nursing environment.
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The Targeted Conflict
The unresolved conflict in the department emerged from ineffective leadership. Some of the nurses in the institution were not getting the right support from their team leader. The leader was sometimes biased whenever empowering healthcare workers. Most of the issues and conflicts presented to the leader were ignored. The misbehavior continued to affect the morale of the workers in the institution. The interviewed caregiver indicated that the team leader was not willing to be part of the nursing process (Anderson, 2015). Consequently, some of the nurses in the team chose to take up various leadership roles. Unfortunately, such efforts did not deliver positive outcomes. This situation led to conflicts and disagreements. The majority of the nurses decided to focus on their personal goals.
This analysis indicates that the department “is facing an intra-group kind of conflict” (Hashish, Hamouda, & Taha, 2015, p. 23). These conflicts are usually common in different hospitals. When they occur, the workers find it hard to focus on a common goal. The quality of services available to the patients reduces significantly. Chances are high that new problems might be caused by this kind of conflict. This is the case because more nurses might fail to embrace the existing standards or ethics of practice (Higazee, 2015). The department has therefore recorded high levels of dissatisfaction and reduced morale.
Details of the Conflict
Two nurses in the orthopedics department indicated that teamwork was a major practice that supported the needs of many patients. However, the leader of the team began to ignore the needs and expectations of his followers. The leader was usually absent and unreachable (Anderson, 2015). He stopped providing the required support and resources to transform the experiences of different patients. The department was no longer embracing the use of modern nursing informatics. The team leader was not monitoring the performance of different nurses. The complaints presented to the leader were ignored.
The information presented by the respondents indicated clearly that the conflict was still affecting the institution’s performance. For instance, the level of morale had diminished because the emerging conflicts were being ignored. The members of the department were no longer communicating effectively. Some of the nurses were planning to inform the hospital’s health manager (HM) in order to have the problem resolved. More patients were finding it hard to meet their health needs (Higazee, 2015). If the problem is not addressed in a timely manner, the department will be unable to achieve its goals.
Stages of Conflict
The four stages of conflict include “latent, perceived, felt, and manifest” (Anderson, 2015, p. 178). The first stage is evident when affected individuals experience various role conflicts. During the stage, resources and guidelines are usually rare and can result in a competition. This is followed by the second stage whereby the affected parties disorient the performance of their colleagues. The stage can result in disagreements and eventually affect the nature of service delivery. The third phase of a given conflict occurs when the issues surrounding the problem are experienced. Communication and collaboration are affected significantly. The quality of healthcare services available to targeted patients is also affected negatively (Higazee, 2015). The final stage is characterized by aggression, hatred, and withdrawal (Anderson, 2015). Health leaders should, therefore, be aware of the stage of the identified conflict in order to offer adequate resolutions.
The conflict described above is definitely in the third stage. Communication and empowerment have been affected in the orthopedics department. The affected people can feel the conflict (Hashish et al., 2015). The workers are unhappy with their team leader. The nurses are no longer committed to realizing the institution’s goals. Problems and challenges affecting the department have been ignored.
Delegation is a powerful leadership trait that dictates the outcomes of many healthcare departments. This conflict has been caused by a lack of delegation. The team leader has not been using the best strategies to tackle every emerging issue (Hashish et al., 2015). The nurses are no longer empowered to focus on the best outcomes. The individuals have been forced to identify the best practices without any guidance. This situation will progress to the fourth stage if the institution’s leader fails to implement adequate measures.
Conflict Resolution Strategies
The ultimate goal of conflict resolution is to address the existing problem. New practices and initiatives that can deal with the conflict should be identified. Delegating the role to other responsible nurses can also be a possible option in an attempt to overcome the situation (Finkelman, 2016). Finally, the implemented solution should become part of the department and eventually improve every healthcare delivery process. This is the rationale for selecting the best strategy.
This conflict should be “addressed using a powerful approach in order to ensure it does not get out of hand” (Anderson, 2015, p. 178). The first strategy towards addressing the conflict is engaging in meaningful discussions. A powerful team comprised of the affected parties will be formed. The members of the team will begin by identifying the major issues surrounding the conflict. The affected nurses will be part of the process in order to present useful ideas that can result in positive outcomes (Finkelman, 2016). The HM will be involved throughout the process. After forming the team, the nurse leader (NL) in the institution will lead the members in order to understand the problem much better.
The mediation will be a powerful approach capable of supporting the goals of the team. Different leaders in the institution will be required to monitor the progress of the mediation process. The next step will be to address the problem using evidence-based ideas. The concept of problem-solving will be used in order to come up with an amicable solution (Johansen, 2012). Positive communication and involvement will ensure the affected parties address their differences. The team leader will be questioned in order to understand why he has been acting in an unprofessional manner. The mediation procedure will ensure the parties are willing to compromise (Finkelman, 2016). This strategy will make it easier for leaders to understand the existing conflict much better.
Throughout the process, nurse leaders in the institution will be required to offer appropriate concepts that can support the problem-solving problem. This argument is founded on the premise that nurse leaders possess a wide range of competencies that can be used to address a wide range of challenges affecting the nursing environment (Anderson, 2015). The leaders will, therefore, offer new incentives to empower the nurses in the affected department. The leaders will encourage the nurses to identify other issues that might be affecting the department’s performance. Every nurse and caregiver will be encouraged to propose new practices that have the potential to transform the situation. The causes of the conflict will be identified in a timely manner. The implemented change will make the department a leading provider of quality healthcare services.
Summary of the Experience
The conflict experienced in the targeted department reveals numerous issues associated with the healthcare environment. To begin with, nurse leaders (or team leaders) who fail to act responsibly affect the morale of their respective followers. The analysis has also indicated that a conflict might progress very fast and eventually affect the quality of nursing services available to different patients (Johansen, 2012). It is also agreeable that conflicts will always occur in the healthcare environment. That being the case, healthcare practitioners must use the best conflict resolution strategies to deal with them.
The identified approaches will make it easier for me to tackle similar conflicts in the future. I will use adequate approaches such as collaboration and mediation. During the process, nurses and caregivers must be involved in order to produce positive results. I will also consider evidence-based practices from different researches in order to handle conflicts effectively (Anderson, 2015). This is the case because every conflict is unique and should be addressed using a viable strategy. The involvement of more stakeholders is critical towards finding the best solution within the shortest time. These approaches will definitely transform my conflict resolution abilities in the future.
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Anderson, L. (2015). Understanding hospital-based nurses’ experiences of structural divergence. The Qualitative Report, 20(3), 172-185.
Finkelman, A. (2016). Leadership and management for nurses: Cores competencies for quality care. Hoboken, NY: Pearson Education.
Hashish, E., Hamouda, G., & Taha, E. (2015). Nursing students’ perception of conflict management styles of their nursing educators. Journal of Education and Practice, 6(21), 21-30.
Higazee, M. (2015). Types and levels of conflicts experienced by nurses in the hospital settings. Health Science Journal, 1(1), 1-12.
Johansen, M. (2012). Keeping the peace: Conflict management strategies for nurse managers. Nursing Management, 43(2), 50-54.