Conflict Resolution Paper
As nurses, it is imperative that we have skills to deal with conflict we encounter throughout the day. Some conflicts are easily handled with simple solutions; other disagreements can persist for weeks or even months and never be handled in a proper way to resolve the situation. The later kind of situation can create resentment, anger, and animosity between employees or colleagues. In this paper I will describe a conflict situation with resolution strategies used by the confronter, discuss other ways to resolve the conflict, and discuss the conflict theory most beneficial to use with a diverse group of people. Introduction
The emergency department (ED) I work at employs patient care technicians (PCTs) to help with various tasks that can be delegated. PCTs have very important roles in all nursing settings, and it is true for my ED as well. Often times PCTs are being pulled in different directions as many patients need help with daily living and tasks that can be completed by non-licensed healthcare providers. PCTs jobs are invaluable to the department and the nurses. In the past, we had three PCTs for our 24 bed ER. Each PCT was assigned to a section with two nurses and eight patient rooms. Every nurse could call any of the available PCTs for help. This has created a situation where nurses and PCTs got frustrated. Nurses got upset because at times all three techs were helping in other sections and there was nobody to help in their own sections. PCTs were frustrated because they felt that they were being pulled in every direction. This system was creating a situation that was not working out for effective patient care and produced a tense working environment. PCTs felt underappreciated and over used. Because PCTs did not have a standard section, they did not feel that they made a difference in patient care. They also felt like they were not helping out the nurse, or getting the job done. The PCTs personal job satisfaction was not met. The nurses’ attitude changed toward the PCTs. Some nurses felt that some of the PCTs were playing favoritism toward some of the nurses. Other nurses stopped asking for help and did the job on their own. The added work has created extra stress on the nurse and caused resentment toward the PCT. Nurses were unhappy and felt like they could not count on the help from the PCTs. Eventually this flawed system also affected patient care. Nurses had to prioritize. Taking care of patients by facilitating diagnostic testing, lab testing, medicating patients, and keeping patients alive was more important than, for example, bringing them a warm blanket or snacks. Patients had to sometimes wait for a long time to get disconnected from the monitors to go to the restroom. As a result, patient satisfaction has declined. Conflict Resolution Strategy Used
The conflict management demonstrated by the parties involved is avoidance. According to Kelly 2010, there is a disadvantage of this conflict management method. “Ignoring the conflict can create a bigger conflict than anticipated, and the source of the problem is more important to one of the parties than the other” (Kelly, 2010, p. 160). This is true for the situation described above. The problem was more important to nurses as it hindered our jobs and made us look bad from the patients’ perspective as evidenced by the declining patient satisfaction scores. The conflict was suppressed by the involved parties that led to new feelings and attitudes. Not handling a conflict in an effective way has negative effects. Some of the outcomes we can see from avoiding a conflict are low job satisfaction and high work related stress (Wright, 2011). Other outcomes can be identified as burnout among health care workers which can result in “absenteeism, reduced quality of healthcare delivery, and higher organizational cost, emotional exhaustion, and depersonalized feelings toward patients and...
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