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Conflict refers to some form of friction, or discord arising within a group when the beliefs or actions of one or more members of the group are either resisted or unacceptable to members of other groups. In this essay, I will be talking about a conflict that I was involved in and how it could have been resolved using the different strategies that will be discussed later.
During the 3 weeks posting in February 2018, I was assigned to a cardiovascular ward. Despite the knowledge gained, the road throughout the clinical period had been a rocky one. My clinical instructor (CI), SSN Maria was new to the job as she had just been promoted and we were her first batch of students. The learning journey with her was not easy as the instructions given by her were inconsistent. The inconsistencies caused many trouble for not only me but the other students too and we were all very frustrated over it. For example, she would be indecisive with the dates of the case study presentations, hence resulting in the lack of proper holistic care that should be given to the patients that were assigned to me. By the time it came to the 3rd week of posting on a Tuesday, I was very frustrated and decided to confront her on her irresponsible actions. However, when I confronted the CI, she insisted that she did not do so and demanded that I apologise for my rude behaviour. I refused to and the conflict started.
When the confrontation had happened. It is considered as an interpersonal conflict, as it is defined as a disagreement between two individuals or subgroups of an organization involving significant resentment and discontent . In this case, the interpersonal conflict happened when the CI and I started debating on whether her instructions were inconsistent or not. This escalated when she denied and demanded an apology. An Article written by International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences said that the causes of an interpersonal conflict can be caused by many reasons like personalities, culture, attitudes, values and perceptions. Hence the root cause for this conflict occurred due to not only my frustrated attitude towards the CI but also the difference in perception that me and the CI had. It had never occurred to me that maybe the CI was just not realizing the problem that she had been giving out inconsistent instructions throughout my clinical journey, and the attitude that sparked the conflict Conflict may be inevitable in a work environment. However, there are many ways that could have been done to prevent the conflict from happening or reducing the strain between the 2 and yet achieve the objective. These methods are called conflict resolution.
Conflict resolution is a method to producing a solitary outcome for two or more parties whom are in a disagreement. An example would be using the technique of avoidance. Steering clear of confrontations can prevent a conflict from starting. Although this is only a temporary solution, this method can allow both parties to cool down and discuss the issue when they are feeling better, thus allowing a development towards their common goal. Another example would be that while the conflict is on-going, I could have always just step back and walk away to cool off before any other conflict arises. If a conflict is inevitable, there are other ways to manage it too. For example, the method of compromising, where both sides would give in to each other’s request. I should have apologised for my poor attitude while the CI could have listen to understand instead of jumping to conclusions. By doing so, it could help her in improving her method of teaching, therefore producing a fruitful experience for us. The method of competing is the least effective as the losing side may feel frustrated and angry which can lead to further conflicts in the future. To execute this theory, both parties would ask for feedbacks from the other students and ask for their opinions.
Resolving a conflict can not only be done by me, but others too. In the case scenario mentioned above, my CI could have been able to use the method of collaborating to initiate the resolution. It may not be easy for the involved parties to achieve a mutually agreed-upon plan. However, it is probably the best solution in managing a conflict if the goals set by the different individuals are met, hence resulting in a win-win situation. The CI could have discussed with me regarding the issue I have at hand. This is done so as to implement strategies that can bring both individuals towards the goals that they have set and agreed upon. Implications What I have learnt from this experience is that conflicts are bound to happen wherever we are, but it is also up to both sides on fixing the problem. If the problems persist there are many ways to resolve the issue other than getting into an unnecessary conflict where relationships are strained. I also learned that conflicts are just a normal part of working life, it is a part of working life and should be adapted to it. I think this will benefit my career as by having conflicts with others allow them to tell me what I am weak at. That allows me to work at my weak points improving myself. It will also make me a more patient person. If I enter the workforce as the rash person that I am in my clinical attachment, it will reflect badly on my professional behaviour and inhibit the personal growth in the ward.
Conflicts also allow me to look at situations from the other persons side of view. Which not only broadens my knowledge but also helps me learn how other people see things from their point of view. Allowing me to connect to workers and patients better as well. According to the Singapore nursing board, a nurse is meant to demonstrate accountability for one’s development and status as a professional Registered Nurse. If a nurse were to always experience conflicts it could signify something is lacking in the nurse, for example a poor attitude. This could lead to multiple conflicts which is contraindicated with the Singapore Nursing Board.
In conclusion, conflicts can happen anywhere regardless of organisations and anytime, not just in a workforce with full time workers, but also in short term duration attachments like clinical postings. Conflicts however can be both a good and bad thing. It can make one realise what their own shortcomings are and change to be a better person or hold grudges against one another which will build up and arise into a bigger conflict in the future. If used properly, conflicts can be a way improve one’s-self and build a closer relation to the other party.
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