Ways to Manage Conflict in the Nursing Workplace.

A new director decides to reorganize the department you work in. This reorganization comes about without input from the employees and many of the nurses that you oversee are feeling resentful of the change. As a nurse leader, identify factors that may lead to conflict and ways you can manage them.

In reorganizing a department without any input from the people who work in it is bound to cause resentment and animosity. As the manager overseeing these nurses and having to work with and manage that the department still runs smoothly and that the work gets done is a surmountable task and requires a leader that can identify and work through issues that arise with poise, assurance, and empathy. Conflict that goes unresolved can affect clinical outcomes, staff retention, and the financials of an institution. Unresolved conflict within a work environment results in damage to the “culture of safety” and lessens the nursing profession and its ability to make change happen within the organization and the health care system itself (Huber, 2014, p.169).

Properly conducted conflict management can lead to or is the goal to stimulating growth and coping behavior among the nurses experiencing this conflict. Conflict is an intrinsic part of change (Huber, 2014, p. 174). Change most often times is associated with stress and struggles, being able to manage this conflict and turn it around into a positive experience where growth and coping behaviors occur can make adjusting to the situation much better.

Some of the factors that may lead to conflict in the above scenario and ways to manage them include:

1. Poor attitude, low morale-the nurses may feel resentment toward the new director coming in and reorganizing the department without including them in the planning. This could lead to poor attitudes and resistances to the changes happening. This conflict in turn can affect patient care. As their nurse leader, I would manage this by meeting with them as a group, I would be open to their feelings, attitudes, and ideas that they express, allow for their issues to be defined and come up with strategies for managing them (Huber, 2014).

2. Decreased productivity-this also goes along with poor attitude and low morale, where the nurses feel resentful toward their new director who comes in and just changes everything without any input from then, this can lead to low productivity where nurses may feel why should we do any more than what we have to or they may be less cooperative with each other and with management. As their nurse leader, again at the group meeting, I would be an active listener, have positive communication, and be empathetic. I would continue to be present and helpful alongside them while working in order to show them if we work together we can come up with a successful and positive outcome.

I would hopefully be able to bring the issues and concerns of the nurses up to the new director in a manner that projects a positive view in working together to make chances that benefit everyone and that promotes a cohesive working environment. There has been research that has showed that the average employee loses 2.8 hours each week due to workplace conflict (5 Ways to Manage Conflict, 2017).


5 Ways to Manage Conflict in the Nursing Workplace. (2017). Retrieved July 16, 2017, from http://elearning.loyno.edu/masters-nursing-degree-online/resource/5-ways-to-manage-work-conflict-in-nursing

Huber, D. (2014). Leadership & nursing care management (5th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier.

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