Conflict with Your Supervisor (Nursing)

by Amber Vanderburg

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    00:00 Sometimes, the conflict, aggressions, or frustration is not with other team members but actually with your supervisor or preceptor.

    00:12 Perhaps there is a strong perceived favoritism, a lack of direction, harsh criticism, paid disparities, or toxic workplace practices led by your leader.

    00:26 In this delicate situation, here are a few tips to keep in mind. First, communicate with your supervisor.

    00:36 Remember, I want you to always initially assume positive intent.

    00:41 You can start the conversation by reiterating aligned goals.

    00:46 Perhaps, you might say something like "I know we have the same goal of creating a positive work environment to give excellent patient care especially if there is a known disconnect." Starting the conversation with aligned goals and purpose is a positive mindset to begin the tough conversation.

    01:10 Next, I want you to come to the supervisor and explain your feelings and observation.

    01:17 Focus on the facts and feelings using statements such as "I have observed that x." Or "I have noticed that y." Here, you are starting the conversation with facts and then move in to how that is impacting you.

    01:38 Why are you bringing this up? Perhaps, it could be a simple statement such as "We typically do a rotating weekend schedule, but I noticed that I have been scheduled for the past 8 weekends and Lucy, Ricky, and Ethel have not worked any weekends in that time.

    01:59 This makes me feel like there is a lack of fairness in the scheduling." This framework of conversation looks directly at the facts and the feelings of the situation.

    02:11 Now that you have stated your facts and feelings, allow space for the supervisor to give a response.

    02:19 Remember, we are still assuming positive intent.

    02:24 Listen to the response empathetically and genuinely for understanding.

    02:29 This can set a stage for a healthy conversation to reach a solution.

    02:35 Continue the conversation with your supervisor after the initial confrontation for continuous relationship development and maintenance.

    02:45 Open lines of communication are critical in the supervisor-employee relationship.

    02:53 If the supervisor or preceptor does not take the feedback well, begins to retaliate because of the feedback, or challenges increase after the conversation, I would encourage you to go directly to HR and explain the situation.

    03:11 Document when an unacceptable behavior occurs.

    03:15 This documentation does not have to be an in-depth story, but should have enough details for HR to be prepared to help.

    03:25 Document the date and short story of the unacceptable behavior.

    03:30 A few sentences will suffice. If you have the details to include, add the persons involved or any witnesses and the timing and location.

    03:42 Human resources may be able to support you in mediation, conflict resolution sessions, department assessment, and sometimes transfers.

    03:54 HR has a lot of tools in employee relations and are there to be a resource for you.

    04:02 If the supervisor conflict continues, HR is unable or unwilling to assist in your challenge and the continuous conversations are not showing progress, then you have a choice to make.

    04:17 You can stay at the department, accept the challenges, and make the best of the situation or you can begin to look for options in other departments or healthcare systems. The choice is yours.

    04:30 I would highly suggest for your own mental health and well-being to consider the latter if you are in a toxic workplace with a leader at the forefront of the toxicity.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Conflict with Your Supervisor (Nursing) by Amber Vanderburg is from the course Communication in Healthcare (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Assume positive intent.
    2. Consult human resources.
    3. Document the interaction.
    4. Approach the supervisor with another peer.
    1. Approach human resources.
    2. Document the attempts to obtain overtime and the manager’s response.
    3. Have a coworker approach the manager.
    4. Complain to the state nursing regulatory body about the manager.
    5. Attempt to bring up the concerns with the manager again.

    Author of lecture Conflict with Your Supervisor (Nursing)

     Amber Vanderburg

    Amber Vanderburg

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