The complex, high-stress, and emotionally-laden environment of healthcare frequently leads to conflict. Patient safety and quality care are dependent on collaborative relationships among healthcare team members, effective communication, and a collaborative work environment. Overall, the Joint Commission has found that communication failures are a “root cause in nearly 70% of reported sentinel events, surpassing other commonly identified issues such as staff orientation and training, patient assessment, and staffing.”
Every healthcare professional encounters disagreement and conflict, as conflict is natural and necessary to every organization. Few infection preventionists have been trained to truly understand the components of conflict or effective methods to resolve it. Reacting to and resolving conflict continues to consume significant time and energy for the infection preventionist. Improved conflict outcomes can be supported through an understanding of emotional intelligence, conflict styles, the psychology of decision-making, and communication styles.
By learning to identify the conditions that create conflict, the causes that trigger it, and the techniques for resolving conflict, infection preventionists will be better prepared. Success under conditions of high-stress, risk, ambiguity, and complexity require effective conflict resolution skills. While it is impossible for infection preventionists to resolve all conflict without the collaboration of the interdisciplinary team, it is their centrality to healthcare that places infection preventionists in the position where they can take the lead in these efforts.
Healthcare organizations that support the development of effective conflict resolution and communication skills can transform organizational culture and leadership while improving efficiency, reduce preventable errors and adverse events, and improve staff and patient satisfaction. Learning to identify conditions that create conflict and techniques to effectively resolve it will impact multiple areas of healthcare, including staff satisfaction and engagement, improved patient outcomes, and patient satisfaction.
Additional information coming soon!