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Conflict Management Education in the Intensive Care Unit

EdD Bobbie Ann Adair White, Do Heath D. White, Christie Bledsoe, Randy Hendricks, Md Alejandro C. Arroliga
Published: 1 November 2020
American Journal of Critical Care , Volume 29; doi:10.4037/ajcc2020886

Abstract: Background Conflicts in medical settings affect both team function and patient care, yet a standardized curriculum for conflict management in clinical teams does not exist. Objectives To evaluate the effects of an educational intervention for conflict management on knowledge and perceptions and to identify trends in preferred conflict management style among intensive care unit workers. Methods A conflict management education intervention was created for an intensive care team. The intervention was 1 hour long and incorporated the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument as well as conflict management concepts, self-reflection, and active learning through discussion and reviewing clinical cases. Descriptive statistics were prepared on the participants’ preferred conflict management modes. A pretest/posttest was analyzed to evaluate knowledge and perceptions of conflict before and after the intervention, and 3 open-ended questions on the posttest were reviewed for categories. Results Forty-nine intensive care providers participated in the intervention. The largest portion of participants had an avoiding conflict management mode (32%), followed by compromising (30%), accommodating (25%), collaborating (9%), and competing (5%). Pretest/posttest data were collected for 31 participants and showed that knowledge (P < .001) and perception (P = .004) scores increased significantly after the conflict management intervention. Conclusions The conflict management educational intervention improved the participants’ knowledge and affected perceptions. Categorization of open-ended questions suggested that intensive care providers are interested in concrete information that will help with conflict resolution, and some participants understood that mindfulness and awareness would improve professional interactions or reduce conflict.
Keywords: care / open ended questions / Knowledge and Perceptions / conflict management educational intervention

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