Conflict Types and Levels Experienced by Nurses

Table of Contents


A conflict is a situation that may occur in any organization due to human interaction challenges. In nursing practice, care is a collaborative effort that involves various team members, who may act as educators, managers, care providers, and so on. Therefore, it is critical to timely identify conflicts and use relevant strategies to address them. This paper focuses on the intragroup conflict that happened in the hospital settings in Miami. In this conflict adequate delegation was an issue, and nurses have difficulties in collaborating.

Conflict Identification

The conflict under discussion occurred between new nurses who were hired due to the increased influx of patients and the ones that worked for a long period of time. Namely, the co conflict happened in an acute care unit where nurses should act immediately and accurately since any delay may deteriorate patients’ health and even lead to death. The fact is that experienced nurses acted as all-knowing employees who preferred doing the most uncomplicated procedures while leaving the rest of the tasks to new nurses. In their turn, the latter also showed unprofessionalism since they refused to perform their duties. Instead of reporting about the problem to nursing leaders, all nurses working in the acute care unit practiced disrespect and ignorance with regard to each other.

As a result, several patients were left unattended, which led to improper care and untimely medication administration. The described type may be identified as an intragroup type as it occurred within one group that divided into two opposing sides (Higazee, 2015). This type of conflict was selected as the most common type of conflict in nursing practice, which shows its critical manner and the necessity to employ appropriate resolution strategies.

Four Stages of Conflict

In the conflict theory, there are several stages of the conflict, including latent, perceived, felt, and manifest. In the first stage, the conflict is latent, and its participants may be unaware of its existence (Moore, 2014). For example, when a nurse administers incorrect medication by inattention, neither the nurse nor the patient knows about it.

The perceived stage implies an increase in tensions between potential actors in the conflict caused by certain contradictions that are perceived by potential actors of the conflict, which leads to an aggravation of tension and stress. According to Moore (2014), the beginning of an open confrontation between the parties is the result of the felt stage, which is understood as the intention to affect others in the group. The fourth stage of the conflict called manifest occurs when the intentions of its participants are embodied in specific forms of behavior. In this case, the behavior of the participants in the conflict can take both controlled and uncontrolled forms.

Following the standard conflict classification, one may distinguish between four stages, as was discussed above. It is also possible to point out these stages in the given conflict. The first stage occurred when the values and views of new nurses and the professionals collided without evident outcomes. The second stage happened with the open confrontation of the sides when some duties were completely ignored, and others were performed inaccurately.

As a result, all nurses felt stress and anxiety, yet none of them suggested a constructive dialogue, which is the manifestation of the third stage. Ultimately, the conflict became observable and critical since the quality of care decreased, thus creating threats to patients’ health. The analysis of the given conflict demonstrates that there is an urgent need to select the strategies that will eliminate it as well as prevent similar cases in the future.

Conflict Resolution Strategies

The latent conflicts become apparent when employees begin to collaborate and solve work tasks without the intervention of management. An important role in any organization is played by informal communications and leaders. There are various methods for uniting employees and repaying internal conflicts. One of the most effective ways is to help create comfortable conditions for the implementation of horizontal communications, which is necessary to give all team members some authority, but their activities should not overlap (McKibben, 2017).

Also, the prevention of conflict situations is positively influenced by the discussion of issues at the general meeting of the personnel. The organization should develop an atmosphere of openness and encouragement. If employees have a positive attitude, then all conflicts and disputes can be resolved by means of dialogues and delegation.

In this case, the conflict was caused by the difference in the professional level of nurses since their working methods and values were different. Therefore, the strategy of assistance and adaptation may be applied to integrate newcomers and experienced nurses (Hendricks & Cope, 2013). It is important to explain to the staff that this was done for their benefit to reduce the workload. Following the suggestion of McKibben (2017), it seems to be relevant to attach an experienced employee to several new nurses to organize knowledge and skills sharing. It is critical that team members should support each other and share the workload fairly. The nurse managers need to re-consider the working schedule and check any issues that may cause another conflict.

Of all the ways to overcome the confrontation between the parties, the negotiations between them are the most effective. The rationale for choosing this type is that it is characteristic that the parties try to achieve at least some of the desired outcomes and make certain compromises. The negotiation process can be initiated under the following conditions: the presence of common interests and the search for a mutually satisfying solution. In this case, it is evident that both of the conditions are characteristic to the conflicting sides; therefore, negations should be used.

The strategy of delegation is one more viable strategy that should be applied to the given conflict. The effective delegation process implies that understanding accountability and responsibility to provide safe care (Mueller & Vogelsmeier, 2013). The principles of public protection should be put on the basis of the delegation that is largely associated with proper communication. For example, the complexity of care and potential for harm may be delegated in terms of sharing the responsibilities (Mueller & Vogelsmeier, 2013).

In other words, not only some duties but also responsibility should be transferred. While communicating with a leader nurse, it is important to approve negations and delegation as the best strategies and discuss methods to implement them. More to the point, the leader should assign experienced nurses to newcomers to promote collaboration in the team.


To conclude, the intragroup conflict was considered in this paper as well as the ways to address it. It was revealed that delegation and negotiating are the best strategies to achieve a compromise and meet the needs of both experienced and new nurses. At the same time, it was suggested that the creation of an appropriate working environment will also promote greater understanding between the team members and, thus, it will improve care quality.


Hendricks, J. M., & Cope, V. C. (2013). Generational diversity: What nurse managers need to know. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(3), 717-725.

Higazee, M. Z. A. (2015). Types and levels of conflicts experienced by nurses in the hospital settings. Health Science Journal, 9(6), 1-6.

McKibben, L. (2017). Conflict management: Importance and implications. British Journal of Nursing, 26(2), 100-103.

Moore, C. W. (2014). The mediation process: Practical strategies for resolving conflict (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.

Mueller, C., & Vogelsmeier, A. (2013). Effective delegation: Understanding responsibility, authority, and accountability. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 4(3), 20-27.

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