Developing Conflict Engagement Competence at the Staff Nurse Level

Wednesday, 1 August 2012: 10:50 AM

Shirley M. Newberry, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, Gundersen Lutheran Health System, LaCrosee, WI
Ana M. Schaper, PhD, RN
Department of Nursing, Gundersen Lutheran Health System, La Crosse, WI
Rebecca Inglis, MSN
Department of Nursing, Gundersen Lutheran Health System, LaCrosse, WI

Learning Objective 1: Identify the understand the occurence and challenges for nursing with conflict in the workplace

Learning Objective 2: Identify how learning circles can serve as an intervention in the development of conflict competence at the staff nurse level.

Purpose:  To evaluate the effectiveness of a modified program designed to meet the scheduling needs of staff nurses working in a large integrated health system.

Materials/Methods: The CAN’s program was modified to include: online education modules and a half-day workshop followed by one-hour Learning Circle meetings held monthly for four months.  A convenience sample of nurse Expert Leaders (unit level staff nurse leaders) agreed to participate.  IRB approval was obtained.  Data was collected at baseline and will be collected at six months (April 2011) using a demographic survey, the Conflict Dynamic Profile instrument and focus groups.

Results: A cohort of 45 (22%) Expert Leader nurses participated with >90% attendance at monthly meetings. Characteristics of this sample include: median age of 50 years, 58% working in the hospital setting, 56% bachelor degree prepared and 58% active in the system’s shared governance structure.  While only one participant indicated previous training in conflict management, 62% indicated they were moderately to very confident in dealing with conflict.  In the pre-workshop focus groups, nurses provided numerous examples of overt and subtle negative conflict behaviors but no clear definition of conflict.  Although participants stated that good conflict existed, very few examples were presented. 

Conclusion:   High participation at monthly Learning Circle meetings reflect staff nurses’ active interest in practice exercises, mutual support for engaging in conflict situations and problem solving system issues.  Six-month data will be presented with lessons learned and recommendations for future implementation of the CAN’s program.