How to Navigate Workplace Conflict as a Travel Nurse

by Tillman Bauldwin, Cardio Recruiter, Aureus Medical

As a traveler, I’m sure you’re very used to new places or unfamiliar situations. With the start of each new assignment, it’s a necessary part of your job to quickly get acquainted with new people and adjust to new procedures. With well-established staff and operations in place at each new assignment, it is entirely possible to experience misunderstandings and disagreements. In fact, it’s common! That’s why it’s important for every traveler to know how to approach workplace conflicts and handle them with professionalism and grace. 

First, it’s important to accept that conflict happens. Workplace conflicts can stem from all sorts of sources, like poor communication, personality clashes, differing values and interests, and scarce resources. It’s how you handle that conflict that says the most about your character.

Take any conflict you run into as an opportunity to practice openness and honesty. This is your chance to grow as a person and consider someone else’s point of view, even if it’s in direct opposition to yours. The more you use conflict as a tool to listen and learn, the less that conflict will seem like a burden and negatively impact your everyday work life. 

The next time you find yourself in the middle of a workplace conflict, try to:

  • Remain professional. Fight or Flight is an instinctual response to any conflict, but instead of avoiding or battling it out, try to remain calm and professional. Your coworkers and managers will notice.
  • Be an active listener. When you’re too busy thinking about what to say next, you’re not really listening to what the other party has to say. Keep your ears open and take in everything being said. Stay present. Stay engaged.
  • Be open to compromise. Sometimes conflict is present because a resolution isn’t the end goal. But once all parties have discussed and listened to the issues, the best chance to reduce the workplace tension is to find common ground. And this can only happen if both parties are willing to compromise.

Being a traveler in a new city and new facility can be challenging. Unfortunately, conflict is sometimes unavoidable. If it finds you, remember to be professional, be a good listener, and be open to compromise. Use your resources for support – your recruiter, coworkers, or managers are there to support you if you feel you cannot handle this problem alone.

Patient care is always the #1 reason we are all here, so we shouldn’t let workplace conflict get in the way. Keep these tips in mind as you travel to your next assignments and, remember to enjoy the experience!

I’ll finish with this quote by Anthony Bourdain:

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you – it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you… Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

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