Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Model

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Conflict is an inevitable part of every work environment, arising when the parties involved disagree and feel a threat to one’s own goals or concerns. Workplace conflicts within the healthcare environment tend to be more complicated as they often involve ongoing, complex relationships that can be based in strong emotion. Understanding the types of conflicts that nurses commonly encounter and the response that occurs is vital for the nurse leader to understand. The Thomas-Kilmann conflict model for conflict management helps people understand how different conflict-handling styles affect interpersonal and group dynamics. In this model there are five ways to handle conflict. The first is accommodating, where the people involved cooperate to…show more content…
A nurse leader should approach conflict resolution thoughtfully because it involves relationships critical for unit work efficiency and ease. There are five main ways to resolve conflict within the healthcare team; those include accommodating, avoidance, competing, compromising and collaboration. Collaboration is the ideal when there is conflict within a group because all parties can achieve their goals (Johansen, 2012). Nurse leaders frequently use compromise as a primary strategy in their conflict management style. However, the 2009 Center for American Nurses conflict resolution study discovered that although nurse leaders may use compromise as a strategy to end conflict, the bedside nurses were often fearful of opposition or punishment when dealing with conflict which then lead them to use avoidance in future encounters (Johansen,…show more content…
One possible reason is that in situations such as a nurse interacting with a physician, the avoidance style may be used by the nurse due to intimidation of the physician’s reputation and status. It was found that many nurses hesitate when communicating the patient’s needs to the physician, as it may be easier to avoid raising an issue and not risk a confrontation. Another study found that the avoidance conflict management style increased the stress felt with peers and communication problems with supervisors (Tabak & Orit, 2007). This has negative implications for both the nurse and the patient. The avoidance conflict management style has been linked to negative patient outcomes such as medication errors, I.V. errors, patient falls, and reduced quality and efficacy of care. In addition, avoidance leads to poor communication, which leads to poor patient outcomes and an increase in sentinel events. It can also lead to higher levels of stress for the nurse (Tabak & Orit,

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