Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Purpose & Scope


  • This guideline provides nurses and decision-makers with tools and resources to educate team members, to identity ways to positively influence the culture within the health-care team in order to mitigate conflict, and assist nurses and leaders to positively manage conflict and enhance the quality of care.
  • The focus for the development of this guideline was managing and mitigating interpersonal conflict among healthcare teams with the view that while some conflict is preventable, healthy conflict can also be beneficial.
  • Conflict is defined as a dynamic process occurring between interdependent individuals and/or groups as they experience negative emotional reactions to perceived disagreements and interference with the attainment of their goals.


  • The BPG was developed to assist nurses in all roles and all settings, other health professionals and management teams to enhance positive outcomes for patients/clients, nurses and Health-care teams, and the organization itself.
  • This BPG identifies:
    • Knowledge, competencies and behaviours for effective conflict management;
    • Best practices that effectively recognize, address, mitigate and manage conflict;
    • Educational requirements and strategies;
    • Policy changes at both the organizational and system levels needed to support and sustain an environment that understands, prevents, mitigates and manages conflict;
    • Implementation strategies and tools; and,
    • Future research opportunities.
Healthy Work Environment
Managing and Mitigating Conflict in Health-care Teams
Background Information