Public Release: 

Conflict management improves ICU team knowledge, mindfulness and awareness

American College of Chest Physicians

The intensive care unit is a stressful place, and conflicts invariably arise. To better understand the relationships between physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and advanced practitioners, researchers created a conflict management education intervention. The study paid close attention to diagnosing the conflict type and cause, recognizing the internal dialogue, introducing conflict management modes used in conflict situations and developing self and other awareness.

Utilizing quantitative analysis, researchers evaluated 56 participants using pre and post knowledge and perceptions of conflict, Thomas-Kilmann descriptive statistics to investigate the participants' chosen conflict management mode and a qualitative analysis to evaluate open-ended questions on the posttest. Pre posttest analysis had 45 participants, and the Thomas-Kilmann descriptive statistics had 49 participants participate.

The researchers found both knowledge and perception scores increased following the intervention. They found that the most frequent strategy for conflict management was avoidance (32 percent), followed by compromising (30 percent), accommodating (25 percent), collaborating (9 percent) and competing (5 percent). Participants indicated that the aspects of the intervention that would stay with them were the Thomas-Kilmann conflict management modes and better awareness of others. Results also showed that the more diverse the group participants were, the richer the perception and perspective dialogues during the educational sessions.

"The conflict management educational intervention improved the participants' knowledge and had an effect on perceptions," says Dr. Bobbie Ann A. White, lead researcher. "Qualitative data suggest ICU participants were interested in concrete information that will help with conflict resolution, and some participants understood that mindfulness and awareness would improve professional interactions or reduce conflict."

Further results from these two studies will be shared at CHEST Annual Meeting 2018 in San Antonio on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Centre, Exhibit Hall. The study abstracts can be viewed on the journal CHEST® website.


CHEST 2018 is the 84th annual meeting for the American College of Chest Physicians held Oct. 6 to Oct. 10, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas. The American College of Chest Physicians, publisher of the journal CHEST®, is the global leader in advancing best patient outcomes through innovative chest medicine education, clinical research and team-based care. Its mission is to champion the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication and research. It serves as an essential connection to clinical knowledge and resources for its 19,000 members from around the world who provide patient care in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. For more information about CHEST 2018, visit, or follow CHEST meeting hashtag, #CHEST2018, on social media.

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