Managing Conflicts in a Multicultural and Multigenerational Staff

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Managing Conflicts in a Multicultural and Multigenerational Staff By: Emily Alsdorf
NU506
Final Project 7/10/2012
Professor Jayne Rogers
SJCME

Abstract
This paper reveals the difficulty that nurse managers have in creating a productive work environment with such a wide variety of individuals. The cultural diversity, generation differences and variety of background experience that each nurse brings to the organization presents a challenge to managers trying to create a functional team. Communication styles may clash and values and goals may be different. Bringing all of these different people together to meet the goals of the organization takes skill and innovation. This paper explores the use of personality indicators and mentoring programs in creating a productive team.

Two years ago a young nurse, named Maria, came to work on our medical floor. She had been working at a nursing home the year before, so she had worked with elderly, was competent with wound care, and was proficient in medication administration. Her skill mix seemed to fit the work that we did on our floor, however, Maria was not able to keep up with the workload. Maria also had a difficult time getting along with our unit secretary Amanda. Amanda complained that Maria was bossing her around and being overly demanding. A unit is supposed to work as a team and Amanda thought Maria was acting out of place and treating her disrespectfully. Maria was African American and also part of generation Y. "Aggressive is one word that white people consistently used to describe black people. Assertiveness is normally valued…but blacks who display such a style are often perceived as threatening, demanding and speaking out of place" (Mcglowan, 2004, p. 10). Maria's cultural background and communication style may have contributed to the poor work relationship with Amanda. This may have in-turn sabotaged her time management efforts, because a unit secretary is very important to the success of the entire unit. Workers who are part of generation Y are sometimes characterized as "demanding and impatient" (Stanley, 2010, p. 84). Maria's generational differences may have also contributed to her working relationship issues. Because of the fact that nurses come from such a wide variety backgrounds, with regard to culture, age and experience, managers today must be aware of these differences, become skilled at resolving conflicts, and find innovative ways to form a productive team.

In all occupations employees comes from a wide variety of backgrounds and nationalities. This is especially true in professional nursing. There were an estimated 3,063,162 licensed registered nurses living in the United States, as of March 2008. (The US Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Among RNs who have graduated since 2005, Black/African-Americans comprise 7.4 percent, a small increase from the 6.8 percent of

Black/African-Americans among RNs who graduated from 1996 to 2000. Among nurses who completed their education in 1980 or earlier, only 4.0 percent are Black/African-American. (USDHHS, 2010). Asians are slightly overrepresented among RNs, with 5.8 percent of RNs reporting a racial background of Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander, as compared with 4.5 percent of the U.S. population. Hispanics are the most rapidly growing group, rising from 4.8 percent of RNs who graduated between 1996 and 2000, to 7.1 percent of RNs who have graduated since 2005. Among nurses who graduated in 1980 or earlier, only 1.4 percent were Hispanic (USDHHS, 2010). In 2008, 6.6 percent of all RNs were male, a small increase from 5.8 percent in 2004. However, the share of male nurses was much higher for the more recent nursing graduates. Only 4.1 percent of nurses who graduated in 1990 or earlier were male, while 9.6 percent of those who completed their initial RN...
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