A Study of Interpersonal Conflict Among Operating Room Nurses

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Background:Team collaboration is an important factor that affects the performance of the operating room (OR). Therefore, the ability of OR nurses to adapt to and manage interpersonal conflict incidents properly is very important.Purpose:The aims of this study were to investigate the interpersonal conflict management capabilities of OR nursing staffs and to find the relationships among the demographics of OR nurses and the following: work-related variables, interpersonal conflict management style, and target of interpersonal conflict.Methods:This study investigated 201 OR nurses who had worked for more than 6 months at the target hospitals, which were located in the three counties of Changhua, Yunlin, and Chiayi. The questionnaire that was used to collect data included three components: a demographic and work-related variables survey, interpersonal conflict management factor analysis scale, and interpersonal conflict parties and frequency scale. Data were analyzed using independent t test, analysis of variance, Scheffe’s test, and Pearson’s correlation coefficient.Results:The main findings were as follows: (a) Integration and arbitration were the major interpersonal conflict management strategies adopted by the participants; (b) medical doctor, OR nurses, and anesthetists were the primary targets of conflict for the participants; (c) the factors of educational background, job position, experience in other departments, seniority, attending courses in conflict management, and level of hospital significantly affected the strategies that participants used to manage interpersonal conflict; and (d) license level, experience in other departments, seniority, and inclination toward serving in the OR were each found to relate significantly to the target of interpersonal conflict and the frequency of interpersonal conflict incidents.Conclusions/Implications for Practice:The main implications of this study are as follows: (a) The environment for communication in the OR should be made more friendly to encourage junior OR nurses to adopt constructive interpersonal conflict management strategies; (b) prior experience in other departments should be one of the most important factors of consideration when recruiting new nurses for the OR; and (c) hospitals should provide more interpersonal conflict management training courses to support the capability of OR nursing staffs in terms of adopting cooperativeness strategies and coping effectively with all types of interpersonal conflicts.

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