Conflict Resolution for the Healthcare Industry

Conflict can arise between two or more people in any workplace environment, especially in healthcare settings such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, and any other medical practices. When disagreements erupt, communication often breaks down. Conflict resolution for hospitals and the healthcare industry, in general, often requires the involvement of an impartial, third-party conflict resolution expert. Do you need immediate help resolving conflict at your hospital or medical practice? Contact Pollack Peacebuilding now.

Whether your healthcare organization is experiencing conflict between departments, administrators, or medical staff, relational mediation services and organizational transformation are important steps in the resolution process. Pollack Peacebuilding Systems (PPS) is a conflict resolution consulting firm that offers facilitated and transformative mediation services to help rebuild and repair relationships.

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Benefits of Conflict Resolution for Hospitals

Hospital workers often have enough stress to manage in caring for patients and their families. No one working at a hospital or other medical facilities should have to deal with additional workplace conflicts. When doctors, nurses, or administrators become impassioned about a particular issue in dispute, a resolution is needed as quickly as possible. After all, we want staff members to return their attention to caring for patients.

Benefits of conflict resolution services at hospitals include:

  • The assistance of a neutral third-party expert who provides structure and focuses on a solution
  • A reduction of tension and animosity
  • An opportunity for both parties to feel heard and validated
  • The preservation of ongoing relationships
  • A decreased chance of future conflicts
  • Mitigation of potential legal issues, employee turnover, or bad press

The Role of Mediation for Healthcare Professionals

The role of a transformative or relationship mediator is quite unique. We aim to help healthcare professionals who are in conflict get back to a place of mutual understanding, so we can collectively brainstorm on solutions that will work for all parties. An expert conflict resolution consultant or mediator will remain neutral in order to diffuse the intensity of confrontational or heated interactions while discovering the deeper issues at play.

Transformative mediation services offer a way to improve communication via completely unbiased assistance in resolving disputes. Negotiated resolutions aim to find a way to address the needs of both sides in order to come to a Win-Win solution.

What’s Required for Successful Conflict Resolution at Medical Practices?

Three men looking at an x-ray imageIn order for conflict resolution services to be successful in hospitals or any other medical facility, all parties need to be willing to come to the table and be interested in several possible options for resolving disputes. This means being open to hearing all sides and considering opposing perspectives.

Everyone involved must be willing to collaboratively work toward a mutually agreeable solution. Once a solution is agreed upon, all participants need to be held accountable for cooperating with what’s been agreed to.

Mediating Relationships Among Medical Staff

At times, disputes between groups or individuals can become very intense. The more disagreements escalate, the more likely that strong emotions may be triggered or spiral out of control. A third-party conflict management specialist may be the only way to settle differences once emotions become volatile.

If you need guidance with conflict resolution for hospitals or doctors’ offices, we can help. At Pollack Peacebuilding, we offer relational and transformative mediation services for individuals and all types of businesses, including doctors’ offices, hospitals, and any other medical practices. Let us help you come to a peaceful resolution. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding today.

Conflict Resolution in Healthcare

Conflict management in hospitals and other healthcare settings is something that cannot be overlooked. It not only contributes to a harmonious work environment, it also helps the patients feel better. No one wants to receive medical care or recover from surgery in a stressful setting where tension is high since it frequently heightens agitation. Effective conflict resolution in healthcare is therefore essential to the emotional and mental health of everyone in the medical facility. Learn more about conflict in medical facilities to determine what’s right for your center.

What Causes Conflict in Healthcare Settings?

Conflict management in hospitalsConflicts with patients can occur in even the most harmonious healthcare facilities. The patient might resist the recommended course of treatment, such as over which medications they want to take or whether they believe surgery is necessary. Such patients might be stubborn about which doctor takes care of them, or simply not want to be in the facility at all. They may even try to leave the medical center and cause themselves further harm.

The families of patients can cause conflicts as well. For example, if the wife of a man who is seizing does not want him to take pharmaceuticals, she might create a disruptive environment that involves yelling at the doctors and nurses in attendance. Family member-related conflicts also arise over end-of-life care, such as an individual refusing to take their parent off of life support, despite the parent’s express wishes. They might argue repeatedly with the doctors, which means the parent who is sadly brain dead takes up a room in the hospital that other patients need, such as moms in labor and those requiring emergency surgery.

Other examples of conflict in medical facilities are between doctors, or between doctors and nurses. Doctors might disagree with each other about how to proceed with a patient’s care, as can nurses and doctors. One doctor might believe surgery is the only recourse for the patient, while the other emphasizes that holistic methods could work. For example, say a female patient’s PAP test came back with high-grade abnormal cervical cells. One gynecologist recommends LEEP, a procedure that cuts out part of the cervix featuring the abnormal cells. LEEP can cause fertility issues, and the patient might be apprehensive about undergoing the procedure. The other doctor who recommended naturopathic treatments, such as herbal suppositories and vitamins, could clash with the doctor pushing LEEP, resulting in workplace tension.

Conflict Resolution Strategies For Healthcare Professionals

Both patient and doctor conflict issues require efficient resolution to maintain a relatively tranquil healthcare setting. Some of the best ways to effectively resolve conflict include:

Establish a Code of Conduct

conflict in medical facilitiesDoctors’ offices, urgent care centers, hospitals, and all other medical facilities must establish non-negotiable codes of conduct for all employees. These codes should detail what behavior is and is not appropriate, and how everyone is expected to behave while at work. There is no room for personal grievances in any professional environment, as it distracts from the work and is off-putting to patients, customers, suppliers, affiliates, clients, and partners. The best codes of conduct for medical facilities additionally detail what is expected regarding doctor-patient relationships and what happens if rules are not adhered to.

Team Approaches

When a member of a medical team is causing disruptions or other issues, dealing with it effectively typically calls for a meeting. A one-on-one approach can be viewed as a personal confrontation that elicits an angry response. The team approach eliminates personal confrontation issues, though it can still include at least one person who is a close acquaintance of the person in question.

Everyone involved should show compassion and empathy, rather than making angry, resentful, or accusatory statements. Such actions cause defensive responses that prolong conflicts in medical facilities. The physician in question should have the opportunity to speak once everyone else has talked, though they can also have the chance to respond later on. For example, they might want to think about the intervention and respond when they have had a chance to process everyone’s words. If the situation does not improve, the Human Resources department might need to get involved.

Objective Mediation Options

Bringing in an objective mediation team might be the best option regarding conflict resolution in healthcare facilities. If team efforts do not prove beneficial, a professional mediator can come in and create a judgment-free zone for resolving doctor conflicts. The mediator can work with patients, assuming there are no health risks involved, in addition to doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, and other staff members. This individual allows all parties to talk about their issue(s) to exhaustion without fear of being interrupted or talked down to. Once one party finishes speaking, the other party gets the chance to talk. The mediator hears both sides without forming an opinion, then provides custom solutions.

For example, say the issue is between a doctor and a nurse. The nurse feels disrespected on a regular basis, even though the physician holds this person in high regard. Said doctor has a monotone or mildly-gruff way of speaking with staff, as they put all of their positive energy into their bedside manner. Once the doctor talks about their regard for the nurse and that they do not mean disrespect, the nurse understands that the issue isn’t personal. As a result, the professional relationship improves because the nurse no longer feels offended by the doctor’s behavior. They will no longer complain about the physician to their fellow nurses, and might even send an email to the nursing staff apologizing for spreading gossip.

This is just one example of how a professional mediator can become a valuable person to have on retain. The individual can come in whenever conflict resolution in hospitals is necessary to maintain an emotionally healthy, stable work environment.

Conflict resolution in healthcare naturally varies by facility but has a foundation in compassion, listening skills, empathy, and a desire to move forward. For more on how to resolve conflicts in healthcare facilities, please contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today.

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