Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines


 3.0 Government Recommendations

3.1 Governments recognize that conflict within Health-care teams is a priority issue

3.2 All levels of government promote a healthy workplace environment by:

• Developing policies and legislative frameworks that support the management and mitigation of conflict;
• Developing policies and legislative frameworks that encourage intraprofessional, interprofessional collaboration and teamwork;
• Ensuring sustainable financial resources to effectively prevent, manage and mitigate conflict in all Health-care settings; and
• Establishing accountability requirements, such as through quality improvement plans, accreditation or other accountability agreements that address the management and mitigation of conflict within all Health-care settings.

3.3 Government agencies, policy and decision-makers should strategically align conflict management with other initiatives pertaining to healthy work environments, patient/client safety, interprofessional collaborative practice, and quality patient/client care.

3.4 Governments commit to establishing and supporting research with appropriate levels of funding, acknowledging the complexity of the type of studies required when examining conflict within Health-care teams.

4.0 Research Recommendations

4.1Researchers partner with governments, professional associations, regulatory bodies, unions, health service organizations and educational institutions to conduct research into conflict within Health-care teams.

4.2 Interprofessional researchers study the:
• Range of impacts of the different types of conflict in the workplace on individuals, patient/client, organizational and system outcomes, including quality of care, patient safety, recruitment and retention;
• Prevalence and incidence of conflict, including an understanding of the different types of conflict, in workplaces throughout all types of organizational settings and sectors;
• Antecedents and mitigating factors influencing the different types of conflict in the workplace experienced by all individuals throughout all types of organizational settings and sectors;
• Existence and effectiveness of current management philosophies and practices to prevent, manage and mitigate conflict in the workplace, including training and education programs;
• Multiple levels where conflict occurs (e.g. individual, team, Health-care system, society) using a wide variety of methods and theoretical tools; and
• Feasibility, efficacy and sustainability of programs and interventions developed to prevent, manage or mitigate conflict.

4.3 Researchers develop, implement, and evaluate a conflict intervention based on the conceptual model shown in Figure 2, page 30

4.4 Using effective knowledge translation strategies, researchers report research findings and outcomes back to their partnering government bodies, professional associations, regulatory bodies, unions, Health-care organizations, educational institutions, and the individuals who participated in the research.

5.0 Accreditation Recommendations

5.1 Accreditation bodies develop and implement evidence-based standards and criteria on the management and mitigation of conflict on Health-care teams as part of their standards and accreditation process.

6.0 Educational Recommendations

6.1 Academic settings value, promote and role model a learning culture which recognizes, prevents, manages and mitigates conflict, while enhancing the positive outcomes of conflict.

6.2 Education for all Health-care professionals in academic settings include:
• Formal and informal opportunities for discipline specific and interprofessional students to develop and demonstrate the ability to recognize, prevent, manage and mitigate conflict in the workplace;
• Recognition of the different types of conflict and subsequent outcomes on personal health, career, workplace dynamics and learning;
• Appropriate communication strategies for responding to conflict in the workplace from patients/clients, peers, and other Healthcare professionals, physicians, supervisors and faculty; and
• Learning related to how, and when to use, internal and external workplace supports for addressing conflict, and encouragement to seek individual, organizational and systemic solutions.

6.3 Academic settings partner with Health-care organizations to develop transition-to-practice, mentorship or residency programs for new graduates.

 7.0 Nursing Professional/Regulatory Recommendations

7.1 Professional, regulatory and union bodies for Health-care professionals should:
• Educate all Health-care professionals regarding the management and mitigation of conflict in Health-care teams;
• Develop competency standards for managers and leaders that clearly reference and prioritize conflict management;
• Incorporate conflict management and mitigation in all applicable policies, standards, guidelines and educational resources;
• Minimize role ambiguity by creating standards that clearly define and distinguish roles and responsibilities of various Health-care professionals;
• Collaborate with policy makers to ensure priority and funding is dedicated to conflict research and interventions to support conflict mitigation and management in all Health-care settings;
• Partner with Health-care and academic organizations to evaluate applicable policies, standards, guidelines, and educational resources; and
• Advocate for research standards, accreditation, education, policies and resources to address conflict in the workplace.