Whenever there are people, there always will be conflict. Opinions vary, misunderstandings and miscommunications occur, and people have different values and priorities. All of these things create conflict in our life and at work. The problem is not conflict itself, but rather how we deal with it. As long as it is resolved effectively, conflict can lead to personal and professional growth. There is no universal accepted definition of conflict. Conflict can be viewed as functional or dysfunctional depending on how each person perceives it, manages it and resolves it. (Iglesias & Vallejo, 2012)
Working in the clinical setting, it is not uncommon to have conflict among nurses, doctors and patients. Nowadays, nurses not only encounter patients but their family is also present and active in the care of that patient. Studies have shown that there is a disconnection between patient’s priority needs identified by the nurse and the priority needs identified by the patient’s family. Conflict with family often arises due to differences regarding the plan of care, visitation regulations, equipment and supplies, placement of the patient and a number of other reasons. Consequently, a negative relationship may develop between the nurse and family, which will eventually affect the patient. (Pang & Chair, 2007)
The following is a clinical situation of a conflict between a nurse and a family member:
Patient A, an 83-year-old male, was hospitalized with a diagnosis of UTI and altered mental status. Prior to admission, the patient was oriented to person, place and time and was able to care for himself independently. On the first night of his admission, Patient A was confused and constantly getting out of bed wondering in the hall. Fearing for his safety, Nurse B oriented the patient and decided to move him closer to the nurse’s station for increased observation. In spite of increased observation and frequent reorienting, patient A grew more confused and even combative. Nurse B decided it was necessary to place the patient in restraints for his own safety. The next morning at shift change, Nurse B gave report to Nurse C, informing her of the events that led to the patient being placed in restraints. Around lunchtime, Nurse C was called to the patient’s room. As she entered, the patient’s daughter confronted her. She was very upset about her father being in restraints. Nurse C tried to deescalate the situation by explaining exactly why the patient was in restraints. In spite of this explanation, the daughter became very irate and threatened to punch the nurse if she did not remove the restraints. The nurse immediately left the room, notified security and documented the events.
Typically, there are five style of dealing with conflict. These include: 1. Competitive: These individuals take a firm stand and know what they want. This style can be useful when there is an emergency and a decision needs to be made fast, 2. Collaborative: These...