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Keywords:

  • communication;
  • conflict;
  • intervention;
  • manager;
  • nurse

brinkert r. (2010) Journal of Nursing Management 18, 145–156 A literature review of conflict communication causes, costs, benefits and interventions in nursing

Aim  This paper reviews the literature on conflict communication in nursing in order to prioritize research, theory and interventions that will support nurse managers and staff nurses.

Background  Conflict is pervasive in nursing and has many costs, including burnout, higher absenteeism and higher turnover. Increased and more effective use of conflict management seems important in sustaining and developing the field.

Methods  The literature study focused on the intersection of nursing, communication and conflict. The review primarily drew from the nursing and communication disciplines.

Results  While much is known about the sources and costs of conflict in nursing, more can be done to research the benefits of conflict and intervene effectively.

Conclusions  Conflict is a routine feature of nursing. Nonetheless, sources can be managed, costs decreased and benefits increased with indirect and direct interventions.

Implications for nursing management  Nurse managers can support themselves and others in working through conflict by normalizing conflict, employing proven proactive and reactive interventions and by helping to build integrated conflict management systems.