Conflict in healthcare: how to resolve issues calmly and safely

Strategies for defusing common conflicts in healthcare, how to respond to aggression and the importance of staying calm and confident

A nurse standing next to a patient's bed appears anxious as she listens to someone who is out of camera
Picture: iStock

How do you de-escalate a situation where a patient is on the verge of a violent outburst, or calm down someone whose operation has been cancelled for the third time?

Expert tips on how to respond to these common conflicts in healthcare are covered in the latest episode of the Nursing Standard podcast.

One quarter of staff working in the NHS in England reported at least one incident of harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, service users, their relatives or members of the public in the previous 12 months, according to the annual NHS staff survey.

The importance of never saying ‘calm down’

Our guest, Alison Wren, a trainer on the de-escalation management and intervention team at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, talks to podcast host and health journalist Claire Read about how to manage and resolve situations of conflict.

Ms Wren, a mental health nurse with 20 years’ experience working in acute settings, and her colleagues train healthcare staff around the country on how to manage conflict.

The episode also offers advice on how nurses can minimise the risk of verbal and physical aggression, how best to respond if it does emerge, and how to remain calm and confident in the face of conflict – including the importance of never saying ‘calm down’.

More Nursing Standard podcasts

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