In a high-stress environment like the hospital, there are inevitably times when you might find yourself clashing with your fellow nurses at work.

When tensions are running high, occasional breakdown in communication may also lead to conflicts with doctors. Or perhaps, you might even find yourself a victim of workplace bullying, or even become an aggressor yourself.

The importance of resolving workplace conflicts in the hospital

While workplace conflicts are not uncommon, it is particularly critical for healthcare practitioners to resolve friction as the lack of effective teamwork might result in harm to patients. Workplace conflicts like these could lead to nurses giving each other the cold shoulder, spreading vicious rumours, or even excluding each other from critical information. All these could lead to potentially life threatening scenarios, especially when they involve the well-being of your patients.

This is because in the hospital, delivering safe, timely and efficient treatment to your patients should be your priority. Your petty quarrels with your colleagues should not stand in the way of this duty. Imagine a patient who requires immediate medical attention. It would be absolutely disastrous if your fellow nursing colleagues refuse to answer your call due to an ongoing conflict!

Empathy as the key to dealing with conflicts

An effective way to manage such workplace conflicts within the hospital is to simply extend more empathy towards your colleagues. More often than not, conflicts and tensions arise due to misunderstandings. In many cases, transgressors do not intend any harm towards their victims, even if it is commonly perceived otherwise.

According to a study conducted by Dr Gabrielle Adams, an assistant professor at the London Business School, when you feel wronged, you ought to try to empathise with the person that you think has caused you harm. This will enable you to see things from the perspective of the transgressor, and understand that the transgressor was not intentional in her actions, and that she may very well wish to be forgiven.

In her study, Dr Adams had research participants record diaries of situations in which they felt that they had offended or been offended over a period of five days. It was apparent from the course of the study, that there were “wide miscalibrations” of others’ perceptions.

As humans, it is only all too natural for us to interpret events in our own unique ways, and think that we are absolutely right in our beliefs. But perhaps, all it takes is just a little more empathy and forgiveness to resolve those niggling conflicts with your fellow healthcare colleagues and improve your overall workplace conditions.

So take the time to have a little walk in the shoes of your colleagues; Find some common ground with them. Ultimately, you’re all healthcare practitioners with the same goal of providing the best service possible to your patients. It is critical that you bear this vision in mind, and not let workplace conflicts within the hospital stop you from achieving this goal. MIMS

Read more:
Nurses: How do you deal with gossipy co-workers?
How can nurses fight sexual harassment?
Nurses, it’s time to stop your bullies! Here’s how you can stem workplace bullying

Sources:
http://www.themalaymailonline.com/features/article/how-empathy-can-help-you-deal-with-workplace-conflicts
http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2011/08/10/nursing-strategies-countering-workplace-conflict-with-positive-communication-strategies/