Work-related conflict and nurses’ role performance in a tertiary hospital in South-south Nigeria

Idongesit I. Akpabio, Mildred E. John, Margaret I. Akpan, Felicia F. Akpabio, David A. Uyanah


Background: Work-related conflict (WRC) may be inevitable but can interfere with nurses’ roles performance if not well managed. Nurses are unique in the directions from where conflicts emerge: administrators, nursing colleagues, physicians, Para-medical staff, patients and their families. Un-resolved conflicts may be linked to poor communication resulting from refusal to cooperate, poor team collaboration and problem-solving, decreased clients’ satisfaction, distrust, split camps, gossips and disruption of work-flow. This study investigated sources of WRC and their influence on nurses’ independent and inter-dependent roles in a Tertiary Hospital in South-south Nigeria.

Methods: A 50-items WRC questionnaire built on a four-point Likert-type scale was used to collect data from a random sample of 242 nurses of all ranks, representing 40% of the target population of 585. The instrument had internal consistency of r = .81 and test-retest reliability of r = .83. Data were analyzed using independent t-test determined at significance level of .05.

Results: Results showed that female respondents were 237 (98%) while 5 (2%) were males. The major sources of WRC included: conflicts as a result of overwork and poor rewarding system each with frequency of 222 (92%); patients-related conflict and leadership conflicts each with frequency of 218 (90%); misunderstanding involving nursing colleagues with a frequency of 194 (81%); poor work environment 192 (80%); conflicts with other health professionals with 189 (78\%) frequency and discrimination issues with 180 (61%) frequency. Furthermore, there was no significant influence of WRC on nurses’ independent and inter-dependent roles. (Cal. t = -4.6; P = .00; Observed mean = 37.7 < Expected mean = 40.0 and Cal. t = -9.3; P = .00; Observed mean = 17.5 < Expected mean = 20.0).

Conclusions: Many sources of WRC were observed among the nurses but they were found to have no influence on their roles’ performance probably due to the ethical and legal implications of nursing duties. Recommendations included effective and timely communication at all times among nurses, hospital administrators and other stake-holders.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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