Effective communication

Nurses can prevent or manage conflict by improving their communication skills. It is important for the nurse to try to understand the other party. The nurse can then focus on being understood. Typically in conversation an individual is already trying to think of a response to give to a person instead of just listening to what is being said (Marshall, 2006). Effective communication occurs only when the message received is interpreted in the way it was intended (Piotrowski, 2005). Individuals must actively listen to each other and, maintain appropriate eye contact without looking down. The nurse needs to be aware of body language and tone, thus avoiding a mismatch of styles (quiet vs. boisterous personalities). The individual needs to ask for clarification by asking open-ended questions and not assuming what is being said. Paraphrasing is a good technique to be sure you have understand the message. Most importantly the nurse must listen, and not interrupt the other individual, for good communication to occur

Nurses as Facilitators of Conflict Resolution

Nurses need to become proactive and learn how to effectively communicate with their patients, the patients’ families and friends, as well as their colleagues (Pettrey, 2003). Good communication skills (see effective communication table) allow the nurse to resolve his or her own conflicts or facilitate conflict resolution between other individuals. As a facilitator, the nurse must protect each person’s self respect by focusing on the issue(s), and not the personality of the party involved. It is also important not to blame the participants for the problem. This hinders open and complete discussion of the issue. Encouraging discussion of both positive and negative feelings will increase the chances of both parties expressing all of their concerns. Fostering active listening and understanding enhances this. The facilitator must allow for equal time for all parties to participate...