How do you handle conflict in the OR?


I am a new graduate nurse interviewing for an OR Internship position. I am wondering how to answer the possible question of "How do you handle conflict?" (or something along those lines). Since I am a new graduate and haven't had much experience with handling conflict, I don't know exactly how I will handle it when it does arise. I've heard that you need to have a "thick skin" to be an OR nurse. I am assuming that this means that I shouldn't take everything personally because some conflict may only be related to stressful situations during a case. I can do that. So I guess my question is, how exactly do you handle dealing with difficult surgeons or other staff in the OR?

jessrene, LPN

28 Posts

Specializes in OR. Has 4 years experience.

One thing to keep in mind is that everyone should be goal oriented in the OR, you are there to perform a certain role for your patients, and everyone should be sharing the overall goal of quality patient care......then most of the conflicts that arise are minor when you put them into this perspective. (except for the people with nasty personalities and those are in every job)

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

8 Articles; 2,543 Posts

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

Most of the conflict that arises in the OR is directly attributed to availability of either equipment, staff, or start times. The way that I would answer the question of "how would you handle conflict?" would be this: find the root of the conflict. Be calm in your demeanor, and at all times keep the lines of communication open. Do not fall into the trap of "us vs. them" regarding anesthesia and surgery. We are all there to take care of the patient, and that should be your main focus, no matter what. To handle conflict effectively, you must first listen to the complaint, take time digesting and thinking about the complaint, and then instead of passing the buck, offer a solution or an explanation. Remember: it is your responsibility to communicate the facts. The reaction of the listener is NOT your responsibility.


2 Posts

How would you handle a doctor yelling at you in the OR