Conflict Resolution




Recurringconflicts are common in the provision of care and may involve two ormore care providers. In most cases, the unresolved arguments affectpatients and may turn ugly at times. This being the case, it isimportant to attend to conflicts to ensure that patients receive thebest outcome from the health care providers (Post &amp Blustein,2015). This report will focus on describing an unresolved conflict inthe labor and delivery setting, stages of a conflict, and thestrategies for conflict resolution.

Descriptionof an Unresolved Conflict

Ms.Brown, a 36-year-old woman, who was at the 39thweek of gestation and desired to have a natural labor and birth,became admitted to the health center. The diagnosis made to her wasgestational hypertension. Three days earlier, the woman had her bloodpressure tested and was 139/89 having negative dip urine protein.Also, her 24-hours urine indicated negative. Upon admission, herblood pressure was noted to be 140/90, and she had the physicianrecommend an induction. She was put on oxytocin for the better partof the day, but the physician and nurse had a disagreement on how tomanage the oxytocin and labor pain. The type of conflict, in thiscase, can be categorized as disruptive since it results from anattempt to defeat or reduce the opponent.

Detailsof the Conflict

AfterMs. Brown had spent around 6 hours following her admission, thephysician indicated that the strip was fine since she was 3 cm and itwas contracting well. The physician recommended an epidural. Also,since the woman had an episode of tachysystole with lates for awhile, the physician took this as a sign of the woman developing alittle placental insufficiency. After this, the physician ran to theoffice to meet urgent visitors but intended to rupture the membranesof the patient after getting her epidural. After 30 minutes, thenurse entered into the patient’s room and found that she was on 10of pit, 3 cm, contracting, and required an epidural. However, thenurse told Ms. Brown that she was worried because in case she got anepidural at the time, she was more likely to end up having ac-section. The nurse remembered that in a hospital where she used towork, they used fentanyl first when women were found to be this earlyin labor. Therefore, she decided to discuss the matter with thephysician. However, the nurse was pulled by the charge nurse toattend to another patient before discussing the matter with thephysician.

Whenthe physician came back to the labor and delivery unit, she examinedthe patient and saw that she seemed like she was getting active, butshe was crying. The patient revealed to the physician that the nurseindicated that she should not get an epidural. The physician had theidea of rupturing the membrane, but the nurse was not around so, heexamined her and wrote on the strip (4/90/-1). The physician made adecision to rupture her after the nurse offered an epidural he gotfrustrated since he could not find the nurse.

Whenthe nurse entered Ms. Brown’s room again, she made the decision ofgetting her ready for an anesthesiologist, and her membranes rupturedsuddenly. When she got the epidural, her blood pressure dropped, andthe fetus became affected. The nurse became frustrated since she knewthe woman desired a vaginal birth. She blamed the physician forputting the patient on oxytocin. However, the physician does notaccept the blame. The conflict between the physician and the nurseended up with both assuming they played their role accordingly. Thiswas the reason I decided the conflict was not resolved.

FourStages of Conflict

Thereare four stages that a conflict proceeds through, which includefrustration, action, conceptualization, and outcomes (Finkelman,2012). Frustration emerges when individuals have the view that theirgoals may be blocked. Frustrations may lead to anger. In the caseunder consideration, the physician becomes frustrated when herealized that he could not find the nurse, and he wanted to carry outa rupture on the patient. Conceptualization occurs when there arediffering interpretations of a scenario, including varied ideas ofwhat is supposed to happen (Finkelman, 2012). This can be connectedto the case where the physician thinks of getting the woman on anepidural, but the nurse suggests that the patient needs fentanylfirst due to her condition. In the action stage, common goals areidentified, and a plan is developed on what to do. In the case underconsideration, this can be connected to the nurse going ahead withthe physician’s proposal of getting Ms. Brown on an epidural andrupturing her. The outcome is what comes out after considering acertain action it may be destructive or constructive. This can beconnected to the scenario where the nurse made the decision ofgetting the woman ready for an anesthesiologist, and her membranesruptured suddenly. When she got the epidural, her blood pressuredropped, and the fetus became affected.

Delegationis the process of assigning certain tasks to a person. It ensuresthat everybody sticks to the responsibility assigned to andinfluences the delivery of duty. I think delegation emerged as anissue in the conflict because the charge nurse did not assign thenurse one situation to handle. When the nurse wanted to discuss withthe physician about the use of fentanyl, the charge nurse assignedthe nurse to another patient. This delayed getting Ms. Brown on theepidural. Therefore, a delegation was a problem in the conflict.


Differentstrategies can be utilized to resolve conflict they includeavoiding, accommodating, confrontation, compromise, andcollaborating. These strategies are discussed in the paragraphs thatfollow.


Thisstrategy involves one of the parties engaged in a conflict keepingoff from communicating about the problem, hoping that it will fadeaway. By one party not participating in the process ofproblem-solving, the conflict may go away in case the other partyfails to push for a resolution. However, in this technique, theunderlying differences amid the conflicting parties are notaddressed.


Thistechnique focuses on cooperation rather than assertiveness. Here, oneparty to a conflict places his/her interest last and permits theother party to progress his/her interests. Thus, one party attemptsto play down the situation and act as if no problem exists(Ramsbotham et al., 2011). The strategy can be applied when one partyis busy and has no time, and when a temporary solution is required soas to look for ways of developing a permanent solution. In mostcases, this approach is used when a party is not importantly devotedin securing a win since he does not deem the alternative option as acrucial threat.


Inthis approach, one party is involved in placing his/her interestsabove other parties engaged in a conflict (Ramsbotham et al., 2011).Assertiveness is perceived as a central aspect of this technique.Here, individuals involved in resolving a conflict address ithead-on. This strategy may at times involve high degrees of emotionssince parties tend to establish positions, which may attract hostilecommunications. This technique can be applied when a quick solutionis required and when the parties to a conflict are not veryimportant. However, the method is demoralizing because it results ina win-lose situation.


Whenusing this strategy, suggestions from the conflicting parties have tobe considered. The approach attempts to satisfy both parties to aconflict since both sides gain something. This technique is bestsuited to resolving conflicts where all parties involved have anequal relationship and all of them need to win. Also, it can beapplied when forcing and collaborative methods do not work. Thebenefit of this strategy is that it supports a faster outcome andlowers the stress of participants. However, it fails to meet a fullresolution immediately (Ramsbotham et al., 2011).


Inthis strategy, parties involved in a conflict work together so as toresolve it, and either side come to the negotiating table with awin-win attitude. The decision concerning the way forward is reachedby all the parties to a conflict. The approach is beneficial to allparties since it supports a win-win outcome (Ramsbotham et al.,2011). However, it is unfavorable because it consumes a lot of timeand effort. The strategy is good in resolving formal disputes sincethe final agreement is binding.

Inregard to the conflict scenario discussed above, collaborationstrategy would work well because both parties to the conflict wouldend up in a win-win situation and the resulting agreement will bebinding. In this case, I would collaborate with the nurse leader byproviding him with different suggestions that need to be followed soas to avoid the recurring conflict. Among the suggestions would beassigning a specific nurse to work along with a given physician fromthe start of serving a client to the end. Also, I would suggest eachstaff to stick to his/her roles.


Inmost cases, patients are on the losing side when there is a conflictbetween the health care providers. It is the role of nurses to ensurethat patients receive the best outcomes from the services provided.From the case above, the patient did not get the best results thatshe desired because of the conflict amid the physician and the nurse.This brings out the picture that the existence of clashes betweenhealth professionals may create a gap in the provision of care(Murray &amp Huelsmann, 2009). Therefore, it is always good to avoidsuch conflicts in the future. I would deal with such a conflict inthe future through having regular meetings with the members of thedepartment in order to discuss any issues that exist. In case anyproblems are present, I would engage the parties involved inconflicts to provide their suggestions so as to have a win-winsituation. This would be critical in avoiding the emergence ofconflicts.


Finkelman,A. W. (2012). Leadershipand management for nurses: Core competencies for quality care.Boston: Pearson.

Murray,M., &amp Huelsmann, G. (2009). Laborand delivery nursing: A guide to evidence-based practice.New York: Springer.

Post,L. F., &amp Blustein, J. (2015). Handbookfor health care ethics committees.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Ramsbotham,O., Woodhouse, T., &amp Miall, H. (2011). Contemporaryconflict resolution: The prevention, management and transformation ofdeadly conflicts.Cambridge, UK: Polity.