Six members of a health care team smiling
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The health care environment is fast paced, dynamic and ever changing, therefore conflict at an intrapersonal, interpersonal, and organizational level can occur.  The causes of organizational conflict are multifaceted, but can be related to relationships, data, structural or values in the work world.   Today’s health care settings are more challenging because of budget constraints, new technology and limited resources therefore, these changes can result in conflict within organizations. Causes and sources of interpersonal conflict for nurses can be between nurse colleagues, nurses and patients/families, or the result of workplace stress such as workload and lack of collegial support.  Issues such as workplace incivility can result from an environment where work related stressors are not managed.  Employers and nurses are partners in the delivery of quality patient care which can be compromised because of conflict.


Conflict arises when individuals have different values and interests and has five phases.  Recognition of the conflict and management of the disagreement is a responsibility of each nurse in creating a healthy workplace for all members of the health care team.  Conflict management styles address the dimensions of assertiveness and cooperativeness of the parties involved and are contextually applied.  The nursing leader is key to providing professional practice environments which promote positive conflict resolution or prevent conflict by building trusting work relationships.  Understanding conflict management and mitigation strategies as a nurse leader will encourage connection, positive communication, and team/unit effectiveness.


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Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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