Nursing

Web site spotlight: Hone your skills as a nurse mediator to manage staff conflict

Nurse Leader Insider, February 2, 2009

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Your professional title might be nurse manager, but sometimes it could just as easily be nurse mediator.

Staff members are bound to hold different values, beliefs, and interests, and thus some conflict is almost unavoidable. But nurse managers often are not aware of how to best address these clashes when they occur.

"There usually isn't a lot of time and energy focused on learning leadership skills to resolve conflict," says Kelly Smith Papa, RN, MSN, director of education, research and dementia care consulting in the Alzheimer's Resource Center of Connecticut in Plantsville, who spent years in various nurse leadership roles. "But if you ignore conflict, it festers and infects the entire [department's] culture."

Conflict may arise from a variety of sources in healthcare facilities, but some are not always so apparent to the busy nurse manager.

Judi Williams, RN, MHA, NE-BC, director of organizational development and ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® director at the Medical Center (TX) of Arlington says covert behavior, such as a staff member talking behind another's back, not helping out another nurse when he or she is busy, and leaving tasks for nurses on the oncoming shift to complete are common sources of conflict.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Hone your skills as a nurse mediator to manage staff conflict" featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's  online resource center, www.StrategiesforNurseManagers.com. Get a free trial membership that will give you 30 days to test drive all the exciting features on the Web site.

 



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