Texas Administrative Code 217.12 §6F states that “The unprofessional conduct rules are intended to protect clients and the public from incompetent, unethical, or illegal conduct of licensees. The purpose of these rules is to identify unprofessional or dishonorable behaviors of a nurse which the board believes are likely to deceive, defraud, or injure clients or the public. Actual injury to a client need not be established. These behaviors include but are not limited to misconduct such as threatening or violent behavior in the workplace.”

Conflict happens even in a healthcare environment and can occur at any time there is a challenge between two opposing parties and principles. The involved parties may sometimes lack the tools necessary for de-escalating conflict and working towards negotiation of more positive outcomes. This disagreement can lead to frustration then anger and finally, if not managed correctly can lead to aggression and other forms of irrational behavior or workplace violence.

It is essential for the nurse to develop the skill of conflict resolution through de-escalation and avoid unnecessary conflict and disciplinary action. There are techniques to de-escalate. Mastering these techniques can save your career and your life. Below are the top 10 de-escalation techniques according to Crisis Prevention Institute, Inc. (CPI) @crisisprevention.com:

  1. BE EMPATHIC AND NONJUDGMENTAL. When someone says or does something you perceive as weird or irrational, try not to judge or discount their feelings. Whether or not you think those feelings are justified, they’re real to the other person. Pay attention to them.
  2. RESPECT PERSONAL SPACE. If possible, stand 1.5 to three feet away from a person who’s escalating. Allowing personal space tends to decrease a person’s anxiety and can help you prevent acting-out behavior.
  3. USE NONTHREATENING NONVERBALS. The more a person loses control, the less they hear your words—and the more they react to your nonverbal communication. Be mindful of your gestures, facial expressions, movements, and tone of voice.
  4. AVOID OVERREACTING. Remain calm, rational, and professional. While you can’t control the person’s behavior, how you respond to their behavior will have a direct effect on whether the situation escalates or defuses.
  5. FOCUS ON FEELINGS. Facts are important, but how a person feels is the heart of the matter. Yet some people have trouble identifying how they feel about what’s happening to them.
  6. IGNORE CHALLENGING QUESTIONS. Answering challenging questions often results in a power struggle. When a person challenges your authority, redirect their attention to the issue at hand.
  7. SET LIMITS. If a person’s behavior is belligerent, defensive, or disruptive, give them clear, simple, and enforceable limits. Offer concise and respectful choices and consequences.
  8. CHOOSE WISELY WHAT YOU INSIST UPON. It’s important to be thoughtful in deciding which rules are negotiable and which are not. For example, if a person doesn’t want to shower in the morning, can you allow them to choose the time of day that feels best for them?
  9. ALLOW SILENCE FOR REFLECTION. We’ve all experienced awkward silences. While it may seem counterintuitive to let moments of silence occur, sometimes it’s the best choice. It can give a person a chance to reflect on what’s happening, and how he or she needs to proceed.
  10. ALLOW TIME FOR DECISIONS. When a person is upset, they may not be able to think clearly. Give them a few moments to think through what you’ve said.

Remember not to take things personally at work. If at all possible, just like the line from the movie, “The Holiday”, “Compartmentalize your life”. Life is short. Prevent crisis.

Contact a San Antonio Nurse Attorney for More Information

Contact an experienced San Antonio Nurse Attorney today for a confidential case evaluation if you are a Texas nurse that needs legal assistance handling a Texas BON complaint.  You can reach attorney Yong J. An directly by calling or texting him at (832) 428-5679.