Document Type


Degree Name



Oregon Health & Science University


Conflict avoidance and ineffective efforts to resolve conflict are associated with increased patient harm. The person-centered approach (PCA) to relating provides four skills to assure effective communication, even in situations of conflict. Few studies have demonstrated changes in collegial relationships and improved patient safety after formal communication and conflict training. This study evaluated the sustained impact of the “New Directions” program on nurses’ communication skills and response in situations of conflict. This retrospective study followed one small group of subjects. The sampling frame included 24 participants who voluntarily registered for one of three "New Directions" Program at OHSU over the past four years. Dependent variables were approaching a team member in a situation of conflict and relating successfully in a situation of conflicting differences. Independent variables included use of relational skills at the end of the program versus two or four years later and the influence of participants’ general self-efficacy (GSE). 13 participants completed the survey data and 11 submitted written exemplars of approaching and avoiding conflict. A paired t-test demonstrated a significant increase in the relational skill of suspending negative judgements and in the outcome of approaching a team member in a situation of conflict. Correlational analyses show a significant correlation between GSE and the relationship skills at two or four years. Multiple regression testing demonstrated significance for the overall model of approaching conflict. Multicollinearly stemming from an untested relational skills scale precluded estimating the relative effect of each of the independent variables on the participants’ approaching conflict and relating successfully. 40% of the exemplars showed the participants suspended negative judgements and 70% found a gift or benefit from having approached the conflict. Study participants who review the results identified professional responsibility for effective team relationships as another variable that influenced their approaching conflict. This study contributes preliminary modeling for identifying the variables that most influence nurses to protect patient safety by approaching team members and relating successfully by embracing differences in situations of conflict.




School of Nursing

Included in

Nursing Commons



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