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Six Phrases NPs and PAs Can Use to Resolve Conflict at Work

Posted on June 21, 2019   |   by   |   Advanced Practice Structure, Communication Skills, Employers, Job Seekers, Leadership Skills APPs, Professional Development

When was the last time you faced a challenging situation that left you speechless? These phrases can help NPs and PAs address conflict in the workplace assertively and professionally.

Stress at work is inevitable for Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants. If you struggle to find the right words to resolve conflict in the workplace, you’re not alone. Next time, try out one of these key phrases. We think you’ll notice a difference!

Good Phrases for Responding to a Conflict

  1. “I didn’t realize this was happening. Please tell me more.”

    When someone approaches you with a problem, it’s natural to experience stress. Try using this phrase to let go of your assumptions and create a neutral space for what the other person wants to say. Welcoming feedback and listening to the other person shows empathy and a willingness to cooperate that will diffuse the tension.

  2. “Let me make sure I understand your perspective.”

    After hearing what the other person has to say, restate it in your own words. After they confirm that you have accurately interpreted what they said, start by confirming the areas where you agree. If there are points on which you disagree, calmly state them and provide reasons for your viewpoint.

  3. “It sounds like we disagree on a few things. Can we take some time to think about this and discuss it again in a day or two?”

    If the conflict persists, you may need time to reflect and consider it from a different perspective. This phrase gives you a chance to step back while acknowledging the issue is important enough to revisit in the future.

  4. “Let’s see what we can do to prevent this from happening again.”

    With this phrase, you accept the problem but avoid the blame game. It helps keep the issue from getting personal and shifts the focus to brainstorming solutions as a team.

Good Phrases for Addressing an Issue at Work

  1. “It seems to me that this process isn’t working as effectively as it has in the past. Can we look at it together?”

    Approaching the problem as a process issue rather than a people issue is a great, non-threatening way to start a conversation. Touch on a few things that you think have changed and share a few solutions. Invite feedback and listen carefully to what the other person has to say.

  2. When asked to do a task that’s outside of your scope: “Yes, that’s an important task. Sue normally handles things like this. Would you like me to discuss it with her, or just take care of it this time?”

    This phrase shows that you’re a team player who knows your role and responsibilities. Occasionally we all need to pitch in and lend a hand. But, when the request represents a policy violation or is outside the scope of your training, you need to say no professionally and give your rationale.

As we’ve said many times, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants are leaders and decision makers in the workplace. Tricky situations are just par for the course. Arm yourself with these phrases to resolve conflict and keep improving your communication skills. In the process, you’ll overcome adversity and build skills for a successful career!

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