Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




Conflict has been pervasive to societies throughout time, has caused power struggles, problems, and competition amongst and between people and groups. Conflict is especially problematic in healthcare. Communication issues may trigger conflict troubles between nurses and physicians. The literature review supported that there is an increased need for collaboration between physicians and nurses, which has been shown to have multiple benefits in regard to patient care, but is also very underutilized in the healthcare setting. The purpose of this study was to explore the conflict management styles of medical-surgical nurses. The Thomas-Kilmann Model of Conflict Management was used to guide this research project. This descriptive survey was disseminated to a medical surgical unit at a local, non-profit hospital, and Level 1 trauma center. Twenty-three nurses completed the survey, a 48.9% response rate. The styles of conflict management that were most utilized by nurses were compromising and accommodation, followed by avoidance. Competition was not utilized at all, and one participant used collaboration and compromising. Collaboration may be the ideal conflict management style, where optimal patient outcomes are the utmost priority and an interdisciplinary approach to teamwork is used. The collaborative style upholds that open, effective communication between the individuals, or parties, leads to everyone expressing their viewpoints, but that the individuals, or parties, come to an agreement on a solution that ultimately benefits the patient. Advanced practice registered nurses play a valuable role in the future of healthcare, research, and micro and macro level policy changes, especially in regard to this subject.

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