Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Carol Smith


I am a Nurse in Charge of the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and believe conflict can be managed better by using critical and creative thinking skills. Conflicts in the healthcare workplace are common and can take on a variety of forms: nurse to physician, nurse to nurse, and nurse to patient/family. Both my research and experience suggests that nurses commonly avoid conflict, rather than engaging in collaborative problem solving about conflict, which would often lead to better solutions. The Critical and Creative Thinking Program has given me the confidence and provided the skills to continue my work using multiple approaches including collaboration in conflict management in the healthcare setting. Some of the tools I have learned from the Critical and Creative Thinking Program that are critical to the better management of conflict are: active listening, knowing yourself, and taking time to consider all options available when making decisions. The program has changed the way in which I approach conflict by actively listening to what the person is trying to say and really trying to grasp an understand about their point of view. Gathering all the information is crucial before making a decision because they may provide additional information and new ideas that I can implement in my decision making. There is currently no training in conflict management for staff nurses, only for nursing management. However, it is needed at the staff nurse level as well as leadership level. Consequently, the goal of my synthesis is to design a conflict management workshop for my staff nurses. This workshop will be taught during the Annual Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) Competency Day, held on various days throughout the year. I will teach this workshop to small groups which consist of five to seven staff nurses who are familiar to me. During the workshop I will help my staff nurses become more aware of their typical conflict resolution style by introducing them to the five Thomas Kilmann Styles of Conflict Resolution, which are: competing, compromising, avoiding, accommodating, and collaborating-and asking them to reflect on the style they most use. They will then be given a chance to reflect on strengths and limits of different ways of responding in three case scenarios: nurse to physician conflict, nurse to nurse conflict, and nurse to patient/family conflict based on the use of the Thomas Kilmann styles. At the end of the workshop there will be a final reflection about the workshop. This will involve the staff having time to do some private writing and a group check in. Once the workshop is complete, I will continue to investigate how the staff is managing their own conflicts as well as provide opportunities for them to share their stories and insights about managing particular conflicts. This information will be helpful to bring back to the Leadership Team and will also help me understand the ways that the workshop are to be extended or revised in the future for the staff nurses.


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