How do the concepts of role conflict apply to those who work in the healthcare field Essay Assignment Paper

How do the concepts of role conflict apply to those who work in the healthcare field Essay Assignment Paper

How do the concepts of role conflict apply to those who work in the healthcare field Essay Assignment Paper

SOC 280 How do the concepts of role conflict apply to those who work in the healthcare field


Discussion Prompt 1: How do the concepts of role, role conflict, culture, and subculture apply to those who work in the healthcare field? Support your response with evidence from your readings or other sources.

Discussion Prompt 2: Discuss the social roles we acquire throughout our lives; be sure to differentiate between role conflict, role strain, and role exit. Explain how status relates to social roles and discuss the role examples you give in terms of ascribed, achieved, and master status.

Managing conflict in the workplace is a time-consuming but necessary task for the physician leader. Conflicts may exist between physicians, between physicians and staff, and between the staff or the health care team and the patient or patient’s family. The conflicts may range from disagreements to major controversies that may lead to litigation or violence. Conflicts have an adverse effect on productivity, morale, and patient care. They may result in high employee turnover and certainly limit staff contributions and impede efficiency.

Litigation is now readily available for those who feel that they are working in a hostile work environment. The hostile environment may be the result of abusive behavior by other employees, supervisors, or physicians. The abuse may take the form of a demeaning attitude, ridicule, off-color jokes, sexual harassment, or even physical violence. Societies have significantly decreased their tolerance of disruptive behavior. A group or organization can now hold vicarious liability for condoning a hostile work environment if it fails to act when a complaint is made.

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SOC 280 How do the concepts of role conflict apply to those who work in the healthcare field
SOC 280 How do the concepts of role conflict apply to those who work in the healthcare field

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Physicians, both male and female, often have hard-driving, type A personalities and little training in interpersonal skills. They may have high IQs but lack emotional intelligence. In the past, physicians were revered as charismatic people who could do no wrong; now they are seen as one part of the health care team. Temper outbursts—with throwing of instruments and loud profanity directed at any unfortunate person who happens to be near at hand—are no longer tolerated. Nurses and technicians have the right to be treated with respect, and they know it.

The dysfunctional physician presents an insidious cost to any practice or health care organization. He or she increases the stress in the work environment and the accompanying loss of efficiency. In a stressful workplace, such as the operating room with a berating physician, morale and team spirit suffer, which results in an increased turnover of staff and a dysfunctional team. Once this stage is reached, various negative factors begin to interplay. Communication is poor, and staff withhold information because of fear of an outburst. The information withheld may be vital for patient well-being. The physician loses staff support and may become isolated. If the problem is severe, retaliation may occur, and this may take many forms: failure to properly assist, the initiation of lawsuits, the support of the plaintiff in a malpractice suit against the physician, or even malicious sabotage of the practice.

Once this dysfunctional behavior pattern is recognized, an intervention should be made. This action is necessary not only for patient safety but also because lack of action could be interpreted by the courts as negligent or as condoning a hostile work environment. When a confrontation is necessary, a team approach should be used, and if possible, a member of the team should be a close acquaintance of the individual, setting up a “good cop–bad cop” scenario. If only one person is involved, the physician may view the intervention as a personal confrontation instead of a peer-related issue. Specific incidents should be documented, and the focus should be on behavior, not personality. Empathy should be expressed but change must be demanded, with a delineation of the consequences if behavior is not improved. The communication should be direct and clear, with the subject not given an opportunity to respond until the end of the dissertation. In this manner, a potential indignant response is often overwhelmed by the data and the presence of peers, and the physician will respond positively to the guidance given or help offered. The goal is to correct the situation and allow the highly trained physician to perform to an optimal degree. Those participating in the confrontation should look for the good in any situation. In this way, the good can be built on, and a positive outcome becomes more likely.

The competent leader will be able to handle difficult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact. If possible, a winwin solution should be looked for, where the physician sees the advantage to his practice and patient care if resolution can be obtained. However, individuals who have a destructive effect on the workforce should be asked to leave before they cause harm.

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