Conflict resolution

  1. Why do nurse managers always solve a conflict between 2 staf members with a meeting with the 2 conflicting staffers? I have never found this to be helpful. I find it only creates long lasting ill awkward feelings between the 2 parties involved and now, those feelings are felt between the staff involved and the manager.

    I recently have had a conflict between a clerk and myself. This clerk has angered every nurse in the clinic. She drags nurses into very hairy situations( some involving HIPPA violations) which sets the nurse up for liability. She has done this on a number of occassions. I have learned today that she is also doing this to another nurse in the clinic. She is not a new employee but has been there for years. I hear all the others voicing their intense anger and complaining at her but nothing is done. I was like a dog with a bone and wouldn't let this drop, so my manager called the 2 of us together for a meeting which turned out to be a huge disaster- to the point where I told my manager I was looking for another job. And her and I traded insults. When I attempted to address this issue to the clerk during this meeting, the clerk's response was "I was abusing her" and she got up and left the meeting. As a result I can not bring my self to even speak to my manager- My opinnion of my manager now is: she is incompetient, favoritism and doesn't know what to do about solving this ongoing issue. It's like she used this meeting to deliberately make it unpleasant and as a threatening situation so Iwill shut up and don't bring her anymore issues that need solving. The issue between the clerk and I is one involving putting patients out on disability- which the nurses have nothing to do with so we therefore know nothing about the process. The more I have tried to tell this clerk I don't know anything about the disability paperwork, she continues to call me about it. This is the craziest thing.

    My solution to the problem, which has only come to me after 1 week of calming my anger to a level of civility, no one speaking to each other, is to take matters into my own hands and have a sit down educational session with this clerk. I have gathered information on the disability paperwork and process from the providers and tech and feel I should go over this information with this clerk in the hopes of putting an end to this craziness. I can't figure out if this woman is just deliberately angering us nurses or if she is thick, dumb and dense- somewhere on the DSM classification with the IQ of below 30.( an idiot, imbicile or moron) and it does seem the nurse manager is entertained by all the anomosity it creates. Why else would she allow this to go on. The nurse manager has done other things to myself and other nurses -up to and including getting the nurse manager before her removed from her job with the help of another nurse who left the clinic in a hurry.
    I love my job- it is perfect for me as an older nurse with years of experience in the hospital which my manager does not have. I do not like my manager and don't trust her. I out match her in experience by 26 years. My experience is all inpatient, hers is 2yrs inpatient and 5yrs ED. I need to find some way to not even bother or rely on this manager for anything- only to schedule my vacations at the correct time. I certainly don't need her to assit in clinical decision making. I have been ther almost 2 years and know there are other resourses I can go to for questions on policy specific to the facility.
    I also feel the manager should have recognized the need for some education on this disability issue and gone about this in that fashion- whether I be the one educated on disability or the clerk or both. This group meeting stuff is an explosive disaster.

    Any insite into this is welcomed
    Last edit by kcmylorn on Feb 14, '12
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    About kcmylorn

    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 1,097; Likes: 2,904
    from US


  3. by   Amanda.RN
    You shouldn't have to take matters into your own hands with this incompetent clerk who sounds like she enjoys "stirring the pot". It's your manager's job to reprimand, give feedback, and provide additional education as needed. Have you talked directly with your manager about the problems you're seeing? If so, have you considered talking with your manager's boss to see what input he/she has? If your manager isn't doing the things she is supposed to be, it needs to be addressed by her boss. Hope things get better for you! It'd be terrible to have to leave a job you're happy with. Good luck to you!
  4. by   TIGERT
    Actually, it really is not the managers job to be referee these type of problems. It is always best to try to solve the problem on your own first, only those that cannot be resolved should go to the manager. Now if you needed help figuring out how to go about this, she should be a great resource. The manager should have been a facilitator in the meeting and not the almighty. Bummer this turned out this way. If i were in your situation, i would do the research, like you have, ask the other party to meet with me, at a neutral, private place within your workplace (not the local Starbucks). I would first apologize for such unprofessional behavior, hoping she does the same. Then explain the research and how you would like to change the way things are done. I try to use the "I think, I feel, I want" method to communicating, it takes the "You did this" and "You should" out of it. You could even recommend she do the same if she struggles. SHE SHOULD, thank you for coming to her personally and apologize as well. Hopefully you can make a pact to start over and work on the relationship. If this doesn't happen, you will know that your manager spoiled what could have had a positive outcome. I am sorry to hear about this.
  5. by   monkeybug
    Our manager does the exact same thing, and it never turns out well. If you go to her with legitimate complaints about another person's work habits, she makes it into an issue between the two people and has a meeting. I've never been in that position (I refuse) but I've seen her do it to others. Unit secretary refuses to answer the phones and balks at any requests? Nurse and unit secretary get to have a meeting to work it out. She cannot get through her head that it won't work, it's only going to make things worse. And it just reassures the lazy person that they can continue to be lazy. And woe be unto you if you email her with concerns/complaints about another coworker or another worker in another unit. She simply forwards the email to them.
  6. by   brendadale
    I find it offensive that you would call somebody " DSM classification with the IQ of below 30.( an idiot, imbicile or moron)" I work with mentally challenged folks and I do not feel that somebody with the IQ below 30 is any of the above name calling descriptions. I have worked as a psychiatric nurse since 1989 and there are many folks that do not understand the significance of what is said in the heat of the moment. Nonetheless, there are "toxic work environments" and if you would like resources on this topic, reply to my post and I will try to assist you to find scholaraly articles on this topic. Good luck with what you decide to do. I feel that you only are doing your best and just don't know how to handle the environment of your workplace. I agree with TIGERT in that working on the relationship in a non-threatening manner would be a start...
  7. by   Mulan
    I don't know, maybe they read wiki.

    "I have found through 10 plus years of people management that the best way to resolve conflict between two staff members is to bring them in together for a meeting to discuss the issues."
    I do know, that the best thing to do is to remain cool, calm and collected.

    What's that old adage, something about whoever loses their temper usually loses?
  8. by   kayern
    Conflict resolution is tricky. No one ever seems to be happy. There are a few things missing from the other postings:
    First......violations of HIPPA are a federal offense and need to be taken seriously.
    Second......Many times, managers hands are tied. Employees are covered by human resource policies. Perhaps you should consult your HR department
    Third......let's face it...........ill feelings spread like wild fire. One person starts, and others join in. It goes viral. don't know for sure if your manager has addressed this employee on the issues you post. She cannot discuss personnel records with you nor should she.
    I could go on and on.........
    It does seem like you work in a toxic envioronment and maybe its time for a change
  9. by   northernbreeze
    I am confused, how would the manager know that you could not control your emotions? How was she to know that two adults could not discuss a problem? Oh... I understand just what you are saying and I have been in a similar situation. I went to a meeting with another nurse who I conflicted with on every level, during the meeting she refused to speak and stated "I plead the fifth" this statement made me so angry I got up and walked out (how dare she refuse to come out with it)! When I calmed down I realized that I had a problem, I needed to work on understanding how I deal with conflict and why I was so angry about this person's response. I realized that she was not comfortable speaking with me and she used those words to honor her way to resolve conflict " flight". I was angry because my resolution style was not honored "fight". When I say fight I mean I like to talk things out, put everything on the table, no hiding. I realized that day, I had some self work to do I was controlling and I wanted that issue resolved now. You sound like someone who avoids confrontation, although it takes the pressure off it never resolves conflict.
    Educating yourself about the paperwork was a good solution for you thus reducing your stress (somewhat) but the actual problem still remains. I wonder what makes you attack from the back when you feel threatened? Name calling, rage? I don't doubt that the other party is the instigator but something is wrong on your side of the court as well.
    -Peace northernbreeze
  10. by   catlover314
    Agree with kayern's comments. As a manager, I first ask myself "Is there a policy violation in this complaint/issue?" Then I ask myself if this is a people problem or a process problem or a combination of the two? I try to ask a bunch of questions til I'm sure I get all the issues involved...and it sounds like this is truly a multi-layered problem. Lastly, after I've listened and asked my questions to clarify the situation, I ask the person with the complaint what they want me to do. Sometimes people come to me to blow off steam, sometimes they want help deciding how best to handle something, and sometimes they want someone else's head on a platter! But usually, people want a functional work environment that is safe and pleasant. I've done the two way meeting a couple of times, when that's what people wanted. They saw it as a way to work on their own conflict management styles, and it was successful because of the people involved...not because of me. I was just there to keep things constructive and on task. Conflict resolution can happen with a boss just laying down the law in some situations, but it isn't a one size fits all kind of thing. And the bottom line is, two people cannot achieve resolution to a conflict unless they talk to each other at some point in time but there is a lot of work beforehand that has to happen before that can be successful.