Conflict and professionalism: perceptions among nurses in Saudi Arabia


Nazik Zakari, Nursing Administration and Education Department, College of Nursing, King Saud University, P.O. Box 50535 Riyadh 11533, Saudi Arabia; Tel: +966505423947; Fax: +96614682812; E-mail:


ZAKARI N.M., AL KHAMIS N.I. & HAMADI H.Y. (2010) Conflict and professionalism: perceptions among nurses in Saudi Arabia. International Nursing Review57, 297–304

Aim:  To examine the relationship between nurses' perceptions of conflict and professionalism.

Background:  In Saudi Arabia, health-care sectors are constantly undergoing major changes because of social, consumer-related, governmental, technological and economic pressures. These changes will influence the nature of health-care organizations, such as hospitals' work environment. The ability of nurses to practise in a professional manner may be influenced by their work environment and conflict level.

Methods:  A cross-sectional design was conducted in this study. A simple random selection of three health-care sectors in Saudi Arabia was performed and 346 nurse managers, as well as bedside nurses participated to provide information about conflict levels and professionalism. The Perceived Conflict Scale was used to assess the level of conflict, and the Valiga Concept of Nursing Scale was used to assess the professionalism perception among nurses.

Results:  The intragroup/other department type of conflict had a statistically significant correlation with the perception of professionalism. In addition, the findings point to a low perception among the participating nurses regarding their professionalism.

Conclusion:  A number of factors might explain the low level of perception of professionalism. These relate to the workplace itself, as well as to the personal background of the nurses, which includes the personal interest in the nursing profession, as well as the family's, society's and the consumers' views of the profession. Given the findings of this study, nurse managers are encouraged to create a work environment that supports professionalism and minimizes conflict.