Conflict Resolution

There are a number of ways to solve conflict which are based on good communication techniques. As you become exposed to more complex situations you will inevitably have to deal with conflict either within your team relationships or when delivering care/treatment. This unit offers you both resources and techniques to effectively deal with conflict. It also gives you the opportunity to consider how you could deal with conflict situations before you encounter them in practice, so you can be prepared.

Resolving conflict

Find out more about conflict resolution and how you can deal with conflicts that you encounter in your daily work.

The GoodPractice Leadership Toolkit (link below) will give you useful information on conflict and conflict resolution. Select the link below and search for some general information about conflict resolution.

  • GoodPractice Leadership Toolkit: Conflict Resolution section contains a wide range of conflict management resources including:
  • Conflict Management (Highlights)
  • Step back in Time: a Conflict Management Exercise
  • Understanding Conflict
  • Conflict Resolution Network
  • Conflict resolution skills

The informaton listed above will have given you some general information about conflict resolution. Now take your knowledge a step further by looking at some specific issues. Do a web search using the key words below:

  • conflict resolution
  • coping strategies
  • managing aggression
  • anger management

Note down the key points, skills and information that you think will be useful to you in your work setting and highlight your learning needs, or areas where you would not feel confident in dealing with such situations.

Reviewing your conflict resolution skills

With your mentor/KSF reviewer discuss the conflicts that can arise in your work setting and the skills and strategies that you may need to develop to deal with these effectively.

Identify and agree the priorities for you to work toward over the next three months.  These should be reflected in your Personal Development Plan.

It is suggested that you repeat this activity every 3 months and seek feedback from your mentor or colleagues on situations where you have dealt with conflict.

Developing your conflict resolution skills

With your mentor, explore any local or online training opportunities to develop your conflict resolution skills. Agree what training would be useful to you and aim to complete this within your first year of practice. This will depend on availability and whether this is given priority in your work setting. Where training is not available, you should explore other ways of meeting your learning needs with your mentor.

Conflict in practice

Within your work setting, identify an area where conflict has arisen within the wider multidisciplinary team.

Use the following questions to reflect on how this situation was dealt with:

  • what factors may have led to this situation arising?
  • explore the conflict resolution approach that was taken
  • what was particularly good about it?
  • what could have been improved?
  • how could it have been improved?
  • how has this influenced your approach to resolving conflict in the future?

You might find the Conflict Resolution Network 'Background - Conflict is the Stuff of Life' page useful for this activity.

Conflict resolution scenarios

From the following 5 scenarios, select 1 or 2 that reflect situations that can occur in your work setting.

Work through these to help you develop your understanding of conflict resolution. You might find it useful to discuss your responses with your mentor and/or other healthcare professionals.

Scenario 1

You are caring for a patient/client who is intoxicated with drugs and alcohol.  He develops aggressive behaviour towards you and other colleagues by shouting and swearing.

Answer the following questions:

  • what factors should be considered when dealing with this situation?
  • what have you learned in the other activities in this section that will help you deal with this situation?
  • what other learning would help you deal with this situation?
  • what measures have been taken to help avoid this situation occurring?

Scenario 2

It has been reported by a new member of the healthcare team that a patient/client that you provide care for has hit out at them while they were carrying prescribed treatments.

  • how would you deal with this situation:
  • what factors do you need to take into account?
  • can you identify any precipitating factors?
  • how might you resolve this situation successfully for both the patient/client and the member of staff?

Scenario 3

A patient/client has refused treatment/care.  This out of character for them and happens when you are very pressed for time.

In the immediate situation:

  • how best can you reduce the potential impact on your ongoing relationship with this person and the overall care you offer to other patients/clients?

Later on:

  • what factors can you identify that may have contributed to this situation?
  • what were the patient's/client's reasons for their out of character reaction?
  • how can you work together to address any issues or concerns that you have identified?

Scenario 4

A patient/client wishes to sign themselves out of hospital/refuses to return after a home visit.

How prepared are you for this situation:

  • what is the local protocol or procedure?
  • what actions do you need to take
  • who do you need to discuss this situation with or involve?

Scenario 5

You are working in a situation where there are relatively few members of staff available to assist you. Conflict arises between two patient/clients.

How prepared are you for this situation:

  • what factors would influence your decision on how best to deal with this situation?
  • what is the local protocol or procedure?
  • what actions do you need to take?
  • who do you need to discuss this situation with or involve?

Portfolio activity – conflict resolution

Having worked through a selection of the activities in this section, you should summarise your learning, reflections and learning needs. Highlight how this may affect your future practice. You can share your findings with your mentor.

Add an alert to your Flying Start NHS® portfolio and/or make a date in your diary to revisit Conflict Resolution.