Legal and ethical implications of conflicts in healthcare

Being a workplace like any other, conflicts in the healthcare setting are common. These conflicts have dire consequences on care quality both directly and indirectly. Team conflicts directly affect care quality by delaying care provision and failure to provide essential care to patients. Indirectly, team conflicts may demotivate healthcare professionals, thus making them exhibit a negative attitude towards patients and their families (Cullati et al., 2019). This discussion focuses on the legal and ethical implications of conflict to the care team, strategies to prevent conflicts that lead to undesirable patient outcomes, and the leadership qualities to effect positive change.

Conflicts have potential legal and ethical implications for each healthcare team member. To begin with, the nurse practitioner can be faced with ethical cases of negligence and work overload when tasks are not delegated. The medical director, who should be in charge of the team, may face legal implications when conflicts lead to negligence and the institution issued for it. On the other hand, the medical assistant can be met with legal implications of malpractice. For instance, in the case study, a patient with very low blood pressure had not been attended to. Practice can be faced with an ethical issue of inappropriate nurse-patient relationships, which would lead to loss of clientele due to arguing inpatient areas.

I would implement strategies to prevent further episodes of potentially dangerous patient outcomes: staff training, clearly outlining duty roasters, setting clear goals, and having conflict resolution guidelines. These would help prevent conflicts among the healthcare team members and inform them of the steps to take in case of a dispute arises.

The leadership qualities I would apply to effect positive change include change management. I would steer the team towards cultivating a conflict-free working environment. I would also ensure effective communication to avoid conflicts arising from a communication breakdown. Effective communication enhances interpersonal and professional relationships, preventing conflicts (Katz et al., 2020).

Conflicts in the healthcare setting should be avoided at all costs. They alter team dynamics and communication, decrease trust, and reduce team performance. As discussed above, conflicts also have legal and ethical implications for the team members. Team members should work together to minimize and manage conflicts.


Cullati, S., Bochatay, N., Maître, F., Laroche, T., Muller-Juge, V., Blondon, K. S., Junod Perron, N., Bajwa, N. M., Viet Vu, N., Kim, S., Savoldelli, G. L., Hudelson, P., Chopard, P., & Nendaz, M. R. (2019). When Team Conflicts Threaten Quality of Care: A Study of Health Care Professionals’ Experiences and Perceptions. Mayo Clinic proceedings. Innovations, quality & outcomes3(1), 43–51

Katz, N. H., Lawyer, J. W., Sosa, K. J., Sweedler, M., & Tokar, P. (2020). Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills., 1-161. Retrieved from 30th May 2022 from

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