Normandale College Nursing Program
NURS 2950– Nursing Leadership 1
Conflict Management Styles Scenarios and Action Plan
Instructions: First, complete the Conflict Management Styles Assessment to identify your preferred conflict management style. Then, read the scenarios below. Refer to section of the assessment tool “Brief Descriptions of the Five Conflict Management Styles” and your textbook (Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing Theory and Application, pp. 562-563) to respond to the Discussion Questions and the Conflict Management Resolution Action Plan.
Nurse Manager Pat
You are walking out the door of the ED at 6:50 p.m. when you remember that you haven’t made the staffing assignments for the next day. You hurry back to your office and realize that the permanent charge nurse Bill had called out sick earlier. Before selecting a replacement, you scan the ED physician schedule to see which physician is on for the early morning shift. It’s Dr. Nagib, an excellent practitioner, but very difficult to work with because he doesn’t consider the clinical opinion of the ED nurse when selecting a treatment plan. Bill is the only charge nurse from whom Dr. Nagib accepts direction. He’s able to reach an acceptable solution to any problem that involves Dr. Nagib.
You look at the schedule and decide that the direct care nurse Sarah is the best choice. She’s also an excellent practitioner who can quickly find a middle ground to a solution when it involves patient management and patient movement. With a sign of relief, you think to herself, “Thank goodness I remembered to assign charge. What a disaster if I had forgotten.” You pause as you turn out the light to your office and say to yourself, “I need to get back here tomorrow morning to make sure that Sarah and Dr. Nagib get off to a positive start.”
Staff Nurse Charlotte
You are an experienced RN coming onto a 12-hour shift at 7 a.m. to a typical day in the ED. All of the patient bays are filled, there are stretchers with patients lining the hallways, and triage is backed up with patients waiting to come inside the main ED for evaluation and treatment.
When you arrive on the unit, your heart sinks. The day charge nurse is Sarah, someone you find very difficult to work with when she’s in charge because she becomes demanding and aggressive. Sarah is an excellent ED nurse, but interacting with her is always a challenge that escalates when she assumes the charge role.
To make matters worse, Dr. Nagib is also on duty. Dr. Nagib doesn’t get along with nurses and especially not with Sarah. They’re often in loud debates about patient management and patient movement.
You get report from Sarah and your assignment is heavy. The acuity and number of patients exceed the ED guidelines, and you are not comfortable that the assignment is safe.
You also notice your assignment is disproportionate to another ED nurse, Janet. Her five patients are stable and being readied for discharge. You’re not surprised however, because Janet has the reputation of always getting her way. Ordinarily you would accept the assignment to accommodate the needs of the unit, but you’re tired from working a double shift the day before. You approach Sarah to request to have your assignment modified.
Charge Nurse Sarah
You are in charge of the ED today because the permanent day charge called-out sick. You are an excellent practitioner who can quickly find a middle ground to a solution when it involves patient management and patient movement, although you have been known to clash with Dr. Nagib who is also scheduled for today.
The ED has been backed up the past 24 hours with admitted patients awaiting a bed upstairs. Fortunately, there are several patients with discharge orders and your goal is for the discharges to move swiftly and smoothly and maintain a sense of order as best you can. Your other goal is to move admitted patients out of the ED and into beds as soon as they become available.
You decide to assign one nurse to complete all of the discharges and a second nurse to manage transfers to inpatient beds. You assign nurse Charlotte to the transfer patients because she is the most experienced nurse on shift. You assign another nurse, Janet, to do all the discharges because frankly, she is a complainer and you want to keep the peace, particularly since Dr. Nagib might view any disruptions as an opportunity to take over patient management and transfers.
Charlotte approaches you requesting her assignment be modified. You tell her, “it is what it is”, and that you want to avoid any drama with Janet because, “You know how she is.”
- From reading the background description for Nurse Manager Pat, identify the primary conflict management strategy you think might be their primary style. Provide an example and short description to support your answer.
- From reading the background description for Staff Nurse Charlotte, identify the primary conflict management strategy you think might be their primary style. Provide an example and short description to support your answer.
- From reading the background description for Charge Nurse Sarah, identify the primary conflict management strategy you think might be their primary style. Provide an example and short description to support your answer.
Conflict Management Resolution Action Plan
Finally frustrated, Charlotte has decided to tell the nurse manager Pat about her unfair assignment since she is getting nowhere with Sarah.
How might Pat deal with the charge nurse and Charlotte’s perception that her assignment is unreasonable? What are the various ways Pat can address the issue and manage this conflict situation?
For each conflict management strategy below, list one way the strategy would be used by Nurse Manager Pat to address the staffing issue, and one possible outcome from applying the strategy.
- Avoiding –
- Competing –
- Accommodating –
- Compromising –
- Collaborating –