Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Sources of Interpersonal Conflict

• Several studies have found that nurses experience conflict with doctors, nurse colleagues, managers, families and patients/clients. However, recent studies have found that nurses identify their managers and nursing colleagues as the most common source of conflict, with nursing colleagues being the most stressful type.
• In several studies the manager’s role has been identified as a key contributor to the level of interpersonal conflict. The impact of the manager’s leadership style including her/his ability to act as a mentor, diffuser of conflict, her/his level of respect for nurses, and supportive attributes have illustrated a profound impact on nurses’ experience of conflict and their quality of work life
• Some studies identified the impact of the role of individuals’ cultural or ethnic background, their response to conflict situations and resolution styles