Conflict Theory in Nursing Practice

Table of Contents


In this reflective journal entry, I would like to elaborate on some issues that nurses face in their daily practice (specifically in the case of Natalie) as well as what theories can support them when resolving the arising problems. The Conflict Theory will be given some consideration with regards to the case study as it includes positive practices in the workplace that a nurse can use to manage workloads, hold to a position of power, and achieve reciprocal relationships with co-workers for enhancing satisfaction and improving overall performance.


Natalie has the potential to become an accomplished nurse; she has high education (master’s degree) and is willing to invest her time and efforts into helping patients. However, the attitudes of her co-workers lack sympathy for her position as a newly integrated member of the team. When discussing this problem with her professors, Natalie was proposed three solutions, one of which can be truly effective when dealing with hostility on the part of her fellow nurses.


Among these solutions, the most interesting one was the recommendation for Natalie to take action and explain to her co-workers that she was allowed some time for adjustment. This solution aligns with the Conflict Theory, which suggests that Natalie’s co-workers were threatened by her advanced degree and thus tried to intimidate her. Under this theory, conflict arises when there are resource inequalities, which causes individuals to ‘fight’ for dominance (Rossel, 2017).


In my opinion, if Natalie chooses to stand up against the pressure from her co-workers and shows authority and strength, she will position herself as a powerful individual that will not take offense to attacks on her professional integrity or her level of education. This case study showed me that even in nursing practice, professionals have to undergo a series of challenges that are not even associated with serving patients in need of healthcare. As Natalie is probably bombarded by the continuous demands of her patients, she has to put up with the negativity and the lack of support from her colleagues. If to assess how the case changed my knowledge about the nursing practice, it has taught me that regardless of what others may say, the true purpose of a health provider is making sure that professionalism and integrity are preserved in order to become successful.

Previously, I viewed the Conflict Theory as an explanation for arguments that can emerge between individuals of opposite views, opinions, and professional objectives. However, I now understand that it is rather associated with inequalities between people, which encourage one party to attack the other (Turner, 2006). It is evident that Natalie’s master’s degree in nursing showed her co-workers that she could go far in her career, which was threatening to them. Probably, they did not have the same education and decided to make fun of Natalie to put her spirit down. I would also like to point out that this case taught me a lot about the importance of respect for other people (even those with whom conflicts appear) since neither Natalie nor her colleagues’ positions are pleasant to experience. To conclude, the case study was eye-opening with regards to the value of the Conflict Theory in the workplace as it allowed us to see that people may initiate arguments when they feel threatened by someone’s knowledge or professional aspirations.


Rossel, J. (2017). Web.

Turner, J. (2006). Handbook of sociological theory. New York, NY: Springer.

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