Tips for Managing Disputes among Healthcare Workers

In general, we’re taught to stay out of other people’s disputes. As a manager, however, you won’t always have the luxury of keeping your distance. When conflict between employees enters your facility, the clash of personalities can negatively affect both morale and patient care. In a healthcare setting, it’s more important than ever to maintain the peace. Since nurses and other healthcare professionals tend to be strong-willed and confident, however, there are bound to be conflicts. How can you resolve conflict among your team while avoiding further disputes? Here are some great tips to help you defuse tense situations at work.

1. Listen to both parties

It’s very rare for the blame to be entirely on one side. More often than not, large disputes evolve and grow out of smaller slights and insults. If you only accept one version of the story, you’ll only make one person happy. Meanwhile, the other employee will continue to feel angry. Instead, make sure to listen to everyone and make accommodations on both sides.

2. Never play favorites when managing disputes

It’s natural for managers to develop closer relationships with some staff members than others; that is a universal and acceptable part of human interaction. What is not acceptable, on the other hand, is to allow your friendships to affect your decisions at work. If a group or an individual consistently receives special treatment, your entire department will start to develop a grudge.

3. Don’t be afraid to meet as a group to resolve the conflict

Few people are comfortable with confrontation, which means you are unlikely to look forward to meeting with both parties to discuss the complaints. Even so, the only way to resolve serious disputes is to reopen the lines of communication. As a mediator, you may be able to facilitate an honest conversation between the offended parties.

4. Remember your goal: Resolution

Barring extreme offenses that could result in dismissal, your goal is never to find fault or place blame. You’re not a judge, and you shouldn’t focus on assigning guilt and responsibility. Rather, your objective is strengthen your team and find a solution that everyone can live with. As such, you will need to listen carefully and decipher what each employee wants out of the situation.

5. Follow up on every conflict

Healthcare workers understand the importance of follow up. Like health problems, personal disputes don’t resolve completely in the space of one conversation. If you let more than a week or two pass, the complaint may appear again. A few days after addressing the issue, talk to each person separately to see how they feel and to determine whether the problem has continued.

Building a strong, cohesive healthcare team is a necessity. At Quality Medical Staffing, we are dedicated to helping you find talented nursing staff that will push your facility toward excellence. To learn more about our comprehensive staffing services, including part-time, full-time, and travel RNs, contact us today.

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