How to deal with conflict - New Grad Nurse Consultants
Conflicts Between New Grad Nurses
Learning how to deal with conflict will not only help you when a problem arises, but also when it comes time to interview. Believe it or not, this is actually a common question that is asked during an interview, with that question being, “How do you resolve a conflict with a co-worker?”. Now, despite all of you being perfect little angels and never been involved in a conflict, you still need to be able to answer the question as well as deal with it in a real time situation. Here are some suggestions on how to answer and how to deal with a conflict at work. 
  1. When a conflict arises, one of the most important things you can do is remain calm
    1. Cooler heads prevail
  2. Try and resolve the conflict between you and the opposing individual
    1. Do not try to simply ignore the issue as it will more than likely not go away
    2. If you can resolve the issue without involving any other parties, then go for it
    3. Take time to listen to what the other person has to say
      1. You can’t resolve what you don’t understand
      2. This is a sign of respect and will only help you resolve the conflict
    4. If you are unsuccessful in resolving the conflict with the other individual, head to your Charge Nurse and ask for help
    5. If still unsuccessful go to your Assistant Nurse Manager or Manager
    6. Continue to climb the chain of command until the situation is resolved
      1. Do not go straight to your manager unless you have already gone through the appropriate channels. They are busy and have more important things to do
    7. Try not to involve other individuals who are not part of the conflict
      1. Its none of their business and you want to try and resolve the issue as discretely as possible
    8. Stick to the facts and not your opinions, despite how strongly you may feel
    9. Don’t just come up with a solution for today, but create a plan for the future
 Unfortunately, conflict is not restricted to the likes of you and your coworkers. I promise you that at some point in your career, you will have a conflict with either a patient or a patient’s family member. Chances are the conflict is not self-imposed and you are not the aggressor, regardless, you need know how to deal with the situation. It is fairly similar to how you would deal with a conflict with a co-worker, so here it is.
  1. Take time to listen and hear what they are saying. Again, you cannot solve a problem without first understanding the issue at hand.
  2. Once they are done over exerting themselves, let them know that you heard them and repeat back what the issue is. This lets them know that you were actually listening, and not just thinking about the massive amount of spit coming out of their mouth. Think of it as closed-loop communication tactics. Listen and then repeat back to them what you heard. This will help eliminate any confusion.
    1. Sometimes when they are yelling at you, they will come up with their own solution
  3. Come up with a solution to the problem, and run it by them. The last thing you want to do is come up with a solution in which only one party is happy with the result.
  4. If the problem/conflict continues, excuse yourself from the situation and go speak with your Charge Nurse. Make sure to give your Charge Nurse as much information as possible as this will help them. You also want to make sure that before going to your Charge Nurse, you have already tried to diffuse the situation. This way your Charge Nurse can reference the fact that you have tried to reconcile the situation.
    1. How do you reference a situation to a Nurse? SBAR!!!
A conflict can arise for any number of reasons. Maybe that person is having a bad day, maybe they just got some bad news, maybe they are overwhelmed, or maybe they are just a Karen (Can I speak with your Manager? No offense to those of you whose name is Karen. I am sure there are some lovely Karen’s out there). Regardless, you don’t know why people act the way that they act, which is why it is important that you take time to listen to what they are saying. Effective communication is one of the most important characteristics of a good nurse and can help you when it comes time to resolving a conflict.