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Advanced practice nurse, collaboration, conflict, conflict resolution, nurse practitioner, physician, Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory II Form C



  1. Blackwell, Christopher W. PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, AGACNP-BC, CNE, FAANP, FAAN (Associate Professor & Program Director)


Background: In the United States health care system, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physicians work very closely in the delivery of high-quality patient care across lifespans and acuities. In fact, advanced practice nurses work closer with physicians in their day-to-day care delivery than with any other group of professionals. This remains true even in states with independent practice for NPs. Because of the significant relationships between physicians and NPs, assessment of how these professionals resolve conflict is essential.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the style of conflict resolution employed by NPs and physicians.


Methods: Nurse practitioners (n = 57) and physicians (n = 58) were randomly sampled from the Florida Department of Health-Health Care Practitioner Data Portal (N = 115). Participants completed a demographic questionnaire assessing experience in conflict resolution training and the Rahim Organizational Conflict Inventory-II, Form C, which defined the style of conflict resolution they most used and preferred.


Results: Results showed that 29.8% of physicians and 40.4% of NPs received formal conflict resolution/management education/training (p = .24). The dominant style of conflict resolution used for 78% of physicians and 74% of NPs was the integrating style, with no statistical difference between the two professions (p = .87).


Implications for practice: Physicians and NPs lack formal education on conflict resolution in their graduate studies. In addition, both professionals tend to use similar styles of conflict resolution among one another in clinical practice, which affects their collaboration and ultimately how optimal care is delivered to patients.