Resolving Conflict: Tips for Nurses

As a nurse, you probably know that conflict is bound to happen. When it does, it’s important to be prepared.

Whether you’re doing travel nursing or a part-time nurse, conflict is natural. And equipping yourself with conflict resolution tools is the best way to reach efficient and effective resolutions.

Read on for our tips on how to manage and resolve conflict from beginning to end.

Stay Calm

Remaining calm is the first step in the successful resolution of any conflict.

Your reaction to an emerging conflict will either escalate or decrease the intensity of the situation. Take a step back and observe the problem. Remind yourself that the conflict cannot, and will not, be solved immediately.

Control Your Emotions

By controlling your emotions, you reduce your potential of offending others through miscommunication.

Your tone and body language have a huge impact on how others perceive you. Avoid raising your voice and other nonverbal cues that suggest you are angry, upset, or unwilling to compromise.

This process can often be a self-fulfilling prophecy – merely attempting to exert control over your emotions will cause any anger or frustration to subside.

Practice Active Listening

Active Listening is a way of engaging in conversation that requires effort and concentration; it shows the speaker you are invested in what they are saying.

To actively listen, the listener pays attention to the speaker’s verbal and nonverbal language, acknowledging the speaker’s opinion without expressing judgment. The listener separates the problem from the person; the conflict is seen as a naturally-occurring set of circumstances rather than a problem created by a flawed individual.

Listening to others in this way shows respect for their thoughts and feelings, which greatly improves the chances of reaching an effective resolution to the conflict at hand.

Avoid Criticizing Others

Criticizing others creates barriers to resolving conflict. Always remain respectful of the thoughts and feelings of others involved in the problem-solving process.

A formula (Clarke University) for working through your feelings without hurting others is below:

  • I feel [strongest feeling]
  • When you [objective description of the behavior]
  • Because [specific impact or consequences]
  • I would like [what you want the person to do in the future to prevent the problem]

Be Willing to Compromise

Compromise is an agreement in a dispute that is reached by both sides making concessions.

If you’d like to reach a conclusion that reduces the chance of future conflict, be prepared to compromise. Compromise is not always pleasant, but it is the best way to ensure that the conflict at hand won’t happen again.

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