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<xTITLE>Nurses Addressing Conflict</xTITLE>

Nurses Addressing Conflict

by Holly Hayes
August 2012

Disputing Blog by Karl Bayer, Victoria VanBuren, and Holly Hayes

Holly   Hayes
The Nurse Together blog has posted a four-part series on conflict in the healthcare setting. The first part looks at the sources and cost of conflict.

The article states:

Attempts to quantify the financial effects of conflict are also eye-opening. A blog post titled The Hidden Cost of Conflict Among Healthcare Teams quoted several studies that calculate these costs. For example:

One study done by the American Management Association on the cost of conflict showed that a manager will spend between 20% to as much as 50% of his/her time dealing with conflict in the work place.

In one particular healthcare system, the cost of conflict in managers’ time alone calculates out to:

45 Managers x $85K/year x 30% = $1.147 Million

And it’s not just money – human lives may also be at stake. The blog of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety reported on Managing Conflict Within Health Care Organizations as a Patient Safety Imperative, saying, “Whether conflicts openly threaten a major disruption of hospital operations or whether unresolved conflicts lurk beneath the surface of daily interactions, unaddressed conflict can undermine a hospital’s efforts to ensure safe, high-quality patient care.”

Part 2 examines common tactics for addressing conflict including Accommodating, Compromising, Collaborating, Avoiding and Competing.

Part 3 reviews guidelines for conflict resolution. The article recommends a five step interaction process when faced with conflict in the workplace: open, clarify, develop, agree, close.

Part 4 advises countering conflict with positive communication and suggests keeping these tips in mind: listen with empathy, watch your body language, recognize the need for a ‘time out’, avoid making judgments or defensiveness, confront the situation and not the person and finally, find shared goals.


Holly Hayes Bovio received a Masters in Health Administration (MHA) from Duke University and her undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University. She holds a certificate in mediation from Texas State.  Holly brings a strong hospital operations background to healthcare mediations including a focus on clinical quality.  Holly managed her own consulting firm for eight years with project work including: developing two internet graduate management courses composed of over 25 modules including strategic planning, finance and strategic alliances and serving as project manager for an annual $70 million bio-med initiative.  From 1997 to 2001, Holly was Assistant Vice President, Duke University Health System (DUHS) responsible for planning and business development for Duke’s $1.5 billion health care network.  She worked at Duke for a total of 12 years in a variety of operational and corporate planning positions. 

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Additional articles by Holly Hayes