Reply to Swaranjeet:

As part of being human, dealing with tension and discomfort is inevitable. We should not treat conflict as a problem to be avoided and instead handle conflict as an opportunity for beneficial outcomes for all. Avoidance typically compounds the problem, further complicating matters when the choice is finally made to deal with it. Poorly handling conflict damages relationships, interferes with employee performance, and, in turn, hurts the entire organization. However, when conflict is handled well, problems are resolved smoothly and everyone benefits in some way. 

An example of conflict between doctor and nurse. I remember when we went paper charting to computer charting, it was not easy for all. One time physician told nurse to place orders in the computer and administer medication as soon as possible. The nurse told physician that he can place the order himself and both started arguing about it and eventually got into heated verbal exchange. 

The approach used to resolve this conflict was firstly to know what both parties want. They both wanted an order placed in computer and medication administered as soon as possible. 

Overcoming emotions was next step. I informed physician that this nurse’s other patients are critical and she just had code situation on one of them. On the other side, nurse was informed that this physician has newly started this system and has appointment with technologist to show him how to make his favorite order sets. They both got distinct perspective of each other’s situations. I showed doctor how to add orders in a set and find it easily. Nurse was also provided assistant as she was overwhelmed. So, a shared goal was met and they both realized after that they could have reacted differently by asking for help instead of imposing. Proper way of communication helps resolve many conflicts and brings better outcome. 

Nurse leaders must be able to manage conflict and help facilitate conflict resolution. The collaborative approach, pursuing a win-win, is an example of how looking at conflict as an opportunity to strengthen relationships can lead to positive results. Implementing this approach properly should have the result of not only resolving the conflict at hand but doing so in a way that benefits staff and the broader team environment. 


Jackson, A. (2010, January). Conflict resolution: Creating a win-win situation. Child Care, 7(1), 22–23.