Conflict resolution: practical principles for surgeons

World J Surg. 2008 Nov;32(11):2331-5. doi: 10.1007/s00268-008-9702-x.


Historically, surgeons have had little formal training in conflict resolution; however, there has been an increasing body of evidence that poor conflict resolution skills may have an adverse impact on patient outcomes and career advancement. Furthermore, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has recognized the importance of conflict resolution skills in resident training by mandating the training of communication skills and professionalism. These skills have often been taught in other professions, and surgeons may need to acquaint themselves with the literature from those fields. Conflict resolution techniques such as the 7-step model or principle-based conflict resolution can be applied to conflict in the operating room, wards, and among colleagues. We propose a model for conflict resolution by using the basic tools of the history and physical exam, a process well known to all physicians.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • General Surgery / education
  • General Surgery / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Models, Psychological
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic