Strategies for Resolving Conflict

Conflict is a natural part of human interaction. How you deal with it, however, can lead to either positive or negative results in your work environment. Conflict may not always be a serious problem-sometimes it can even be helpful-but it must always be addressed. Effective leaders consider conflict a puzzle that needs solving, and they use various critical thinking and communication techniques to do so.

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Strategies for Resolving Conflict

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In this week’s media, Dr. Rubino discusses how conflict can be good and can help bring about needed changes. Dr. Rubino also shared strategies leaders can use to address conflict to ensure positive outcomes. The readings also provide strategies for dealing with conflict situations. Read the case study below about a work conflict, and then respond to the questions.

Lydia, a BSN graduate, previously worked as a hospice nurse in a not-for-profit care center. Overall, Lydia found her position to be enjoyable; however, she did not find it challenging. As a result, Lydia made the difficult decision to leave the care center and pursue other options in the field of nursing.

Lydia accepted a position at a local hospital in a pediatric intensive care unit. Because of her outstanding work ethic and eagerness to learn, it was only a few months before Lydia was offered a promotion to nursing supervisor of the morning shift. Her duties now included making patient assignments, communicating with other areas of the hospital, and addressing patient complaints, among other things.

Although this promotion suited Lydia’s desire for a challenging work environment, the change deeply upset the staff nurses on the pediatric unit. Most of the staff nurses had worked on the unit for at least 5 years and felt that Lydia’s few months of experience was not sufficient in comparison.

The discontent among the staff nurses soon became very apparent to Lydia. Her job as nursing supervisor became very difficult as the staff nurses became extremely uncooperative. The complaints over patient and task assignments came first, then sarcastic remarks toward Lydia. At first, Lydia hoped that simply ignoring the staff nurses’ behavior would cause this behavior to diminish on its own, but that was not the case. The staff nurses resorted to procrastination, and whenever Lydia approached them with additional tasks, they each had an endless stream of excuses.

Lydia could not look past this behavior any longer, as these conditions were now adversely affecting the work quality of the unit as a whole. Frustrated—but not willing to leave her position—L ydia brought these issues to one of her supervisors. Her supervisor, in turn, acknowledged the lack of professionalism in the staff nurses’ behavior; however, Lydia’s supervisor made it very clear that being an adept nursing supervisor included the ability to handle issues or conflict that may arise within the unit. She then encouraged Lydia to view this conflict as an opportunity to make some positive changes and sent Lydia on her way.

Based on the case study, respond to the following:

  • What conflict resolution strategies should Lydia utilize first?
  • Which techniques for effective communication would be the most practical, as well as the most beneficial? Why?
  • 250 to 350 words and APA format

Support your response with references from the professional nursing literature.



Learning Resources

Prior Knowledge

Technology has certainly changed how people communicate both personally and professionally. How much time do you spend on electronic communications such as e-mail, IM, chatting, and social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook? Many individuals no longer send hand-written birthday cards, holiday greetings, or thank-you notes through the postal service. A great deal of communication is now done electronically. Reflect on your use of electronic communication. What are the benefits of this type of communication? What are the drawbacks? How do you address the drawbacks in your professional communications?

Required Resources

This page contains the Learning Resources for this week. Be sure to scroll down the page to see all of the assigned resources for this week. To view this week’s media resources, please use the streaming media player below.


  • Video: Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Leadership competencies in nursing and healthcare: Communication, teamwork, and managing conflict. Baltimore: Author.
    • Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 21 minutes.

      In the fast-paced world of nursing and health care, accurate communication is vital. This week, the experts discuss the importance of communication within an organization, for leadership and for the quality of patient care.


  • Course Text: Effective Leadership and Management in Nursing (8th ed.)
    • Chapter 8, “Thinking Critically, Making Decisions, Solving Problems”

      In Chapter 8, the authors look at the various stages of critical thinking and the creative process and how they should be used in problem solving. They also examine how to analyze a problem to determine which strategies should be employed and how to problem-solve in groups.

    • Chapter 9, “Communicating Effectively”

      In Chapter 9, the authors look at the various communication techniques leaders use to get their points across to a wide range of audiences. The chapter helps explain some of the complexities leaders face when trying to communicate a similar message to colleagues at, above, and below their professional level, as well as to people of different cultural backgrounds.

    • Chapter 11, “Building and Managing Teams”

      This chapter examines nursing leadership when working with teams. It reviews several common challenges teams face and how leaders can encourage cooperation in order for the team to be successful. This chapter provides leadership strategies for forming an effective team, managing meetings, planning tasks, and completing these tasks.

    • Chapter 12, “Handling Conflict”

      Chapter 12 begins with an observation that not all conflict is negative—rather, if handled properly, conflict can lead to an interchange of ideas that can produce positive and unexpected results. The chapter also provides a self-examination that asks you to look at personal obstacles that hinder positive conflict. Conflict management rules and strategies are also addressed in this chapter.

  • Losa Iglesias, M., & Becerro De Bengoa Vallejo, R. (2012). Conflict resolution styles in the nursing profession. Contemporary Nurse: A Journal For The Australian Nursing Profession, 43(1), 73-80
  • Report: Institute of Medicine Shaping the Future for Health (2000). Crossing the quality chasm: A new health system for the 21st century. Retrieved from

    Review this report brief of the IOM’s publication Crossing the Quality Chasm, and focus on strategies the organization suggests for improving health care delivery, including interdisciplinary collaboration.


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