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Exploring Nursing Team Conflict in Health Care Team Interactions

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This study uses communication theory to analyze cultural and ethical conflict between team-based nurses. From a health care perspective, floor nurses conveyed stories about conflicts they had experienced during professional teamwork. Analysis of these stories produced a set of conflict themes. While nursing conflict themes are plentiful in the extant literature, limited studies have approached the topic from a communication point of view. This perspective’s strength lies in identifying cultural conflict elements that coincide with organizational and interpersonal theories, thus broaden understanding beyond individual quirks and idiosyncrasies. The paper’s analysis pairs these theories with the themes identified in the nurses’ stories, demonstrating how cultural conflict identification, progression, and possible intervention can impact the larger context of team nursing.


  • Team-based nursing
  • Nursing conflict
  • Cultural conflict
  • Ethical conflict
  • Conflict narratives
  • Medical communication
  • Cultural conflict themes

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-17215-2_2
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  1. 1.

    For the purposes of this research, my intent was not to target a specific number of participants, but rather to collect a sufficient number of conflict stories.

  2. 2.

    It is not uncommon to become dissatisfied and disenchanted due to frustrations with their work, especially in dealing with patients, their families, and doctors. However, for some, the trade-off is a profession that provides stability, job security, competitive wages, and flexible work hours. In my interviews with the 24 nurses, I was surprised to find that most participants ranked passion for taking care of people over the profession’s other benefits. With the continual drive for more nurses due to ongoing nursing shortages, it was encouraging to learn that, at least in the interviews, passion outweighed both employment benefits and compensation.

  3. 3.

    Culture is often perceived as primarily ethnic and religious affiliation. This research omitted these two cultural characteristics due to their broad nature, concentrating instead on the cultural characteristic of generational and educational attributes.


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Correspondence to Randolph Wilt .

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Wilt, R. (2019). Exploring Nursing Team Conflict in Health Care Team Interactions. In: Văduva, S., Fotea, I., Văduva, L., Wilt, R. (eds) Applied Ethics for Entrepreneurial Success: Recommendations for the Developing World. GSMAC 2018. Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics. Springer, Cham.

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