New Blog Series Explores Nursing Conflict Resolution Skills

American Sentinel University's healthcare blog, 'The Sentinel Watch,' launched a new four-part blog series: 'Conflict in the Workplace: Bullying', available here. The series profiles the roots of conflict in nursing and the best ways to effectively manage conflict resolution in the workplace and achieve positive outcomes.

There is a saying in the nursing profession that nurses "eat their young" – how veteran nurses are said to treat their younger colleagues – sometimes called lateral violence or horizontal bullying – and this behavior is in direct opposition to the foundation of nursing.

Nursing is based on collaborative relationships between nurses and other healthcare professionals. The way nurses maintain relationships and resolve conflicts are two of the most important skills in nursing today.

"While we like to think that nurse bullying isn't happening – it is a major issue, both in nurse satisfaction, and patient safety. Advanced education and good leadership skills help prevent this behavior in hospitals and healthcare organizations," says Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Associate Dean of American Sentinel's graduate nursing programs.  "Nurse leadership training emphasizes the importance of collaboration and the crucial role that each member of a team plays in making a difference in the lives of patients."

The 'Conflict in the Workplace: Bullying' blog series will run through October 13 and covers such topics as:

  • Understanding the source of bullying
  • Strategies for managing intergenerational conflict
  • Strategies for managing interdisciplinary conflict
  • How nurse leaders can effectively manage difficult situations and the role that education plays in conflict resolution

As healthcare organizations continue to move toward team-managed environments, nurses no longer serve on nursing units in subordinate roles. Nurses are finding themselves in new roles as part of a multidisciplinary team improving the overall delivery of care.

"Working to promote a positive work environment and a culture of collaboration and safety illustrates the true professionalism and leadership of our nurses. It's our goal as nurses to focus opinions and behaviors toward our mission, putting the patient first at all costs," adds Dr. Foster.

To learn more about nursing conflict resolution skills, visit the 'Conflict in the Workplace: Bullying', blog series available at

What do you think of this topic? What is your experience with conflict in the workplace? Please share your thoughts below, including your tips on conflict resolution skills that have helped achieve positive outcomes.


  1. I have experienced bullying in four hospitals I have worked. Unfortunately, only one, in which the Nurse Manager had exceptional conflict resolution and communication skills, was the bullying addressed properly. In
    all situations, the bullying was instigated by co-workers (RNs, Physicians) who felt threatened by medication error reports, other unsafe patient issues and patient grievance reports I submitted. For doing my job as a patient advocate and RN, I have been screamed at, lied about, made fun of, and humiliated in front of my peers. I left hospitals and am currently in home care. I will never go back to a hospital setting.

  2. Workplace bullying is on the rise. I’ve been bullied a lot. It’s sad that the nursing profession I once loved is having to deal with this. How do we fix this problem?

  3. Casey, do you remember what you said to the CNA and how you said it? Sometimes it is not what we said but how we say it. Sometimes the pressure of the job makes us anxious, has us rushing and perhaps saying things we would never say in normal circumstances . If indeed you ” hurt her feelings” than you need to learn from it not run away. A please before asking anyone to do something is always the right thing to do and a thank you after they help you. Nurses aides can make your shift runs smoothly or they can make your life miserable. The thing is to take a little time after you have a confrontation with a co-worker and try to understand what happened and if you were right or if you were rough . If you feel that this CNA lied and you were made to apologized I understand your frustration and you should have calmly explained to your manager what happened because there are always two sides to a story. If you were wrong than quitting your job is really not a good idea because history repeats itself. Take the time to cool down and see if you can blank that tape in your head and start from scratch good luck

  4. I have recently been reported to administration for “hurting a CNA’s feelings”. I was forced to apologize to this lady because they told me “they didn’t want her to leave offended”. I did as they asked and am currently searching for a new job.


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