You are the intensive care unit charge nurse and have just finished an exhausting 8 hours on duty. Working with you today were two nurses who work 12-hour shifts. Each of you were assigned two patients, all with high acuity levels. You are glad that you are going out of town tonight to attend an important seminar because you are certainly tired. You are also pleased that you scheduled yourself an 8-hour shift today and that your replacement is coming through the door. You will just have time to give report and catch your plane.It is customary for 12-hour nurses to continue with their previous patients and for assignments not to be changed when 8- and 12-hour staff are working together. Therefore, you proceed to give report on your patients to the 8-hour nurse coming on duty. One of your patients is acutely ill with fever of unknown origin and is in the isolation room. It is suspected that he has meningitis. Your other patient is a multiple trauma victim. In the middle of your report, the oncoming nurse says that she has just learned that she is pregnant. She says, “I can’t take care of a possible meningitis patient. I’ll have to trade with one of the 12-hour nurses.” You approach the 12-hour nurses, and they respond angrily, “We took care of all kinds of patients when we were pregnant, and we are not changing patients with just 4 hours left in our shift.”When you repeat this message to the oncoming nurse, she says, “Either they trade or I go home!” Your phone call to the nursing office reveals that because of a flu epidemic, there are absolutely no personnel to call in, and all the other units are already short staffed.
Answer the following (5) questions:1. What can you do to resolve this problem?2. Do you feel that the 12-hour nurses are being reasonable?3. Do you feel that the oncoming nurse is being reasonable?4. What kind of negotiating skills might this require?5. Do you feel that conflict has become more commonplace because of covid? Why?
To resolve this problem, you can try to facilitate a discussion between the oncoming nurse and the 12-hour nurses to explore potential solutions. You could suggest that the oncoming nurse take extra precautions while caring for the patient with suspected meningitis, such as wearing personal protective equipment, and that the 12-hour nurses provide support and guidance. Alternatively, you could explore other options, such as calling in a nurse from another unit, if that is possible, or contacting a supervisor or administrator for assistance. It is important to address the concerns of all parties involved while ensuring patient safety and maintaining appropriate staffing levels.
It is difficult to say whether the 12-hour nurses are being reasonable without more information about their specific circumstances and experiences. However, it is important for healthcare professionals to support each other and work together as a team, especially in challenging situations like this. It may be helpful to explore their concerns and try to find a compromise that works for everyone.
It is understandable that the oncoming nurse may have concerns about caring for a patient with a potentially contagious illness while pregnant. However, it is important to remember that healthcare professionals have a duty to care for their patients, even in difficult circumstances. It may be helpful to provide education and support to the oncoming nurse to help her feel more comfortable caring for the patient with suspected meningitis.
Negotiating skills that may be useful in this situation include active listening, empathy, and problem-solving. It is important to listen to the concerns and perspectives of all parties involved, acknowledge their feelings, and work together to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone. It may also be helpful to brainstorm potential solutions and weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Conflict in healthcare settings may have become more commonplace because of COVID-19, as healthcare professionals are facing unprecedented challenges and stressors. Factors such as staff shortages, personal protective equipment shortages, and concerns about personal safety may contribute to tensions and conflicts among healthcare teams. It is important for healthcare organizations to prioritize the well-being of their staff and provide support and resources to help them cope with the challenges of working during a pandemic.