Can a training session on conflict resolution be helpful in resolving disputes among healthcare workers who are trying to function as a team?
In any business or organization the support of which requires cordiality and cooperation on the part of the employees or members, a dysfunctional atmosphere will result in failure. In the area of health care, as with other professions where life-and-death issues are discussed and the welfare of people is involved, the ramifications of failure can be enormous and costly. Effective teamwork requires all individual members to agree on the goals and on the strategies for attaining those goals. Individual members can employ their own methodologies for executing their components of the broader plan, but the members must be in sync with regard to the effort. In short, professionalism is required.
In the case of healthcare workers attempting, or required, to work as a team, but whose ability to function accordingly is deficient, an intervention involving a working group is warranted. Requiring the workers to sit together in a group, led by a professional mediator, and work through the obstacles to a more efficient operation is the ideal approach to fixing the problem. Through the working group approach, each member would be required to express for the benefit of the others the goals and strategies of the organization or team as he or she understands them, and the obstacles he or she perceives that are impeding progress. Only through such an undertaking, in which the team members have an opportunity to resolve conflicts, can the existing group of individuals hope to work as a team. The alternative is to replace individuals deemed to be part of the problem with new workers, or to replace the entire group with a new team in the hopes that group dynamics will prove more productive. Should the process suggest underlying problems with the strategies involved, than the exercise will have proven beneficial in identifying that deficiency and allowing for an opportunity to address those problems.
It is important in utilizing the working group option to have an impartial, dispassionate professional mediator lead the session in order to avoid charges of biases on the part of the group leader. Such individuals exist for this exact purpose.