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Keywords:

  • case study;
  • conflict;
  • interviews;
  • intraprofessional relations;
  • job satisfaction;
  • nursing;
  • work environment

Abstract

Title. Intraprofessional relations in nursing

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explore the way in which Registered Nurses relate to and interact with each other in the workplace, and to identify factors that influence nurses’ interactions with each other.

Background.  Intraprofessional relations are an important topic both for nurses and nursing as we face the ongoing challenges of nurse shortages. Poor colleague relationships, together with workplace conflict, cause job dissatisfaction. As a consequence, some nurses leave the profession while others continue working but remain chronically unhappy.

Method.  An explanatory multiple case study design was adopted. Data were collected from multiple sources on three different wards within one hospital in Australia between July 2005 and January 2006.

Findings.  The workplace can be a difficult place for both very experienced and less experienced nurses, regardless of the clinical environment. Nurses navigate their way in the workplace through a series of complex negotiations with each other and develop skills to assess the potential success of an interaction before approaching another nurse. Some also develop a resilience to conflict in their workplace, accepting it as part of working life.

Conclusion.  Creation of a more positive work environment requires increased understanding of the way nurses relate to each other and appreciation of the factors in the environment that contribute to conflict and a negative atmosphere. This appreciation is a necessary prerequisite to developing a more satisfying and productive workplace enhancing the recruitment of new nurses and the retention of experienced nurses.