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Nurses Addressing Conflict

Disputing Blog by Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes

The Nurse Together blog has posted a four-part series on conflict in the healthcare setting. The first part looks at the sources and cost of conflict.

The article states:

Attempts to quantify the financial effects of conflict are also eye-opening. A blog post titled The Hidden Cost of Conflict Among Healthcare Teams quoted several studies that calculate these costs. For example:

One study done by the American Management Association on the cost of conflict showed that a manager will spend between 20% to as much as 50% of his/her time dealing with conflict in the work place.

In one particular healthcare system, the cost of conflict in managers’ time alone calculates out to:

45 Managers x $85K/year x 30% = $1.147 Million

And it’s not just money – human lives may also be at stake. The blog of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety reported on Managing Conflict Within Health Care Organizations as a Patient Safety Imperative, saying, “Whether conflicts openly threaten a major disruption of hospital operations or whether unresolved conflicts lurk beneath the surface of daily interactions, unaddressed conflict can undermine a hospital’s efforts to ensure safe, high-quality patient care.”

Part 2 examines common tactics for addressing conflict including Accommodating, Compromising, Collaborating, Avoiding and Competing.

Part 3 reviews guidelines for conflict resolution. The article recommends a five step interaction process when faced with conflict in the workplace: open, clarify, develop, agree, close.

Part 4 advises countering conflict with positive communication and suggests keeping these tips in mind: listen with empathy, watch your body language, recognize the need for a ‘time out’, avoid making judgments or defensiveness, confront the situation and not the person and finally, find shared goals.


Holly Hayes

Holly Hayes Bovio received a Masters in Health Administration (MHA) from Duke University and her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University. She holds a certificate in mediation from Texas State.  Holly brings a strong hospital operations background to healthcare mediations including a focus on clinical quality.  Holly managed her own consulting… MORE >

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