Healthcare professionals experience a level of on-the-job pressure that is second to none. No matter if we’re working in a hospital, lab, or pharmaceutical or insurance company, we see employees and management continuously striving to meet patients’ immediate and long-term needs. These caregivers sometimes focus so closely on their clients’ acute issues that they don’t have the challenging conversations they need to cope with their own chronic concerns.
Conflict in CareIs the healthcare industry any more vulnerable to conflict than others? The daily pressure is obviously intense: Caregivers have to deal with emergencies, matters of life and death, long hours, irregular schedules, changing processes, multiple agencies, stringent rules and regulations, and seemingly ever-tighter budgets.
These professionals may well have an urgent need to talk about a difference of opinion, give feedback, or discuss any undercurrents, but they just don’t have the time, or the opportunity, to do so at the end of a long shift. Plus, there are supplementary factors in the healthcare arena that can make it even more difficult to create the open environment needed to make these uncomfortable conversations effective and productive, such as:
- rigid institutional hierarchies
- emotional demands
- managers who are assigned positions without the proper leadership training
- caregivers’ need for acknowledgement
- physical and mental stress versus personal well-being
- the need to constantly prioritize procedures, processes, and people.
All of these factors can make effective communication about differences of opinion a delicate operation.
Managers Can Help Promote New Ways to Treat ConflictsManagers can look at conflicts as an opportunity to put things back together better than they were. If treated correctly and in a timely manner, most conflicts can serve as a wake-up call and improve the overall health of a team, individual, and organization.
As a manager, you may feel you do not have the time or the skills to help employees speak about their issues with each other and agree on suitable and sustainable solutions. The good news is, there is help at hand—conflict resolution competencies can be taught and learned just like any other skill.
And just like so many other things in life, prevention is better than cure. Proactively planning an approach for when, not if, conflicts arise means you can guarantee things will “get well soon.”
Mediation Training Will HelpMediation training teaches managers and healthcare professionals the skills they need to conduct a potentially confrontational conversation effectively. They learn to encourage open dialogue about tricky topics and establish a course of action to remedy the situation.
Mediation for medical and healthcare professionals is an established process which helps to analyze the problem, examine the underlying concern, and discover which issues are symptomatic and which are causal. This provides the framework for people to arrive at a sustainable solution.
Mediation MethodologyMediation training will teach you how to recognize and practice for those cases when you need to address conflicts in your team and your working environment by:
- listening to what is not being said and asking further
- halting the firefighting and taking time for reflection
- building in evaluation moments
- walking the talk
- helping your team members find mutual interests and common goals
- teaching your team how to conduct important conversations in a neutral, impartial, and empathic way
- helping your team to become more forgiving of their colleagues and themselves.
Recognize that a good talk can look past the symptoms, diagnose the real cause, and come up with a prescription for long-term communication.
Want to learn more? Join me September 14 for the webcast: Mediation Training: How to Make Communication Better for Healthcare Professionals.