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Conflict Among Colleagues: Health Care Providers Feel Undertrained and Unprepared to Manage Inevitable Workplace Conflict

  • Julia Kfouri
    Affiliations
    Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sinai Health System, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
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  • Patricia E. Lee
    Correspondence
    Corresponding Author: Dr. Patricia Lee, Division of Urogynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
    Affiliations
    Division of Urogynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
    Search for articles by this author
Published:November 07, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogc.2018.03.132

      Abstract

      Objective

      In the health care sector, intercollegial conflict is inevitable. Such conflict may have an adverse effect on employee turnover, workplace morale, and patient safety and care. Conversely, skillful management of conflict may result in beneficial change and improvement. Improved conflict management (CM)/dispute resolution (DR) knowledge for health care professionals (HCPs) has been shown to reduce the negative impacts of conflict. This study aimed to determine whether HCPs feel equipped to manage collegial workplace conflict and whether they feel there is a need for CM training.

      Methods

      An electronic survey was developed to determine the attitudes, experience, and background training HCPs have had with CM, as well as whether respondents felt they needed CM/DR training. The survey was emailed to 660 HCPs in 2013 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario.

      Results

      The response rate was 46% (303 of 660). Of 303 respondents, 128 (42%) reported previous formal training in CM/DR, but only 80 of 303 (26%) felt adequately trained to manage conflict and resolve disputes in the workplace, with 59% believing they need more conflict training. Among respondents, 76% wanted to see these skills incorporated into their own career training opportunities, but only 34% were aware of courses available to improve their CM/DR skills, and 50% stated they would be interested in taking such courses; 79% wanted to see these skills incorporated into medical school curricula.

      Conclusion

      This needs assessment survey found that most HCPs did not believe that they have adequate training to manage workplace conflict comfortably, and they felt more training is needed in CM/DR.

      Résumé

      Objectif

      Dans le milieu des soins de santé, les conflits interprofessionnels sont inévitables. Ces conflits peuvent cependant avoir des conséquences négatives sur le roulement des employés et le moral au travail, ainsi que sur la sécurité des patients et les soins qui leur sont prodigués. En revanche, la capacité à gérer les conflits peut entraîner des changements positifs. En effet, il a été démontré que l’amélioration des connaissances en gestion de conflits (GC) et résolution de conflits (RC) chez les professionnels de la santé permettait d’atténuer les conséquences négatives des conflits. Cette étude avait pour but de déterminer si les professionnels se sentaient bien outillés pour gérer des conflits interprofessionnels en milieu de travail, et s’ils jugeaient avoir besoin de formation en la matière.

      Méthodologie

      Nous avons créé un sondage électronique visant à déterminer les attitudes, l’expérience et la formation de base des professionnels de la santé en matière de GC. Les répondants devaient également indiquer s’ils estimaient avoir besoin de formation en GC/RC. Le sondage a été envoyé par courriel à 660 professionnels, en 2013, au Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, à Toronto.

      Résultats

      Le taux de réponse a été de 46 % (303 répondants sur 660 sondages envoyés). Parmi les répondants, 128 (42 %) ont mentionné avoir déjà suivi une formation structurée en GC/RC, mais seulement 80 (26 %) se sentaient adéquatement formés pour gérer et résoudre des conflits en milieu de travail; 59 % des répondants jugeaient d’ailleurs qu’ils auraient besoin de formation supplémentaire. Parmi les répondants, 76 % désiraient que les compétences de GC/RC soient ajoutées à leurs occasions de formation professionnelle, mais seulement 34 % connaissaient des cours offerts sur ces compétences. De plus, 50 % des répondants ont indiqué qu’ils souhaiteraient suivre des cours dans ce domaine. Enfin, 79 % désiraient que ces compétences soient ajoutées aux programmes d’études de médecine.

      Conclusion

      Ce sondage a révélé que la plupart des professionnels de la santé estimaient ne pas posséder la formation nécessaire pour bien gérer des conflits en milieu de travail et qu’ils auraient besoin de formation supplémentaire en matière de GC/RC.

      Key Words

      Abbreviations:

      CM (conflict management), DR (dispute resolution), Ob/Gyn (obstetrics and gynecology)
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