Introduction: The successful organization and operation of a medical structure requires interdisciplinary cooperation, which increases the degree to which health professionals interact with one another. As the interaction degree increases, the probability of conflicts rises in proportion. Conflict management is a systematic procedure aiming to detect mutually satisfying results for the conflicting parties and differentiates depending on the characteristics that constitute the parties involved.
Aim: Investigation of ways to resolve and manage conflicts between health professionals working in primary health care facilities.
Methods: Α cross-sectional study was performed in Health Centers within the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, during the first trimester of 2016, with 220 health professionals participating, among which doctors, nurses, midwives, health visitors and nurse assistants. Data was collected via structured anonymous self-report questionnaires. Data processing was performed with SPSS 22.0 statistics package and the x2 statistical test was used for qualitative variables (trend control) and t-test for quantitative variables. Results: The 77.4% of the participants worked for more than 10 years, the 10.9% were postgraduate graduates and 81% of the participants were female. Assessment of results revealed that the most common conflict management practice chosen by health professionals was “to avoid conflict” (67.3%), followed by “compromise” (43.6%) by means of securing mutual benefits for both parties. The manner of conflict management was found to be related to sex, education level, profession, as well as work experience. The vast majority of participants (74.7%) stated that they had not undertaken any previous education on conflict management issues.
Conclusions: Frequency of conflicts was found to be high between health professionals working in Primary Health Care Facilities and especially between doctors and nurses. Findings of the present investigation underline the necessity to establish new ways of communication and collaboration. Provision of suitable education to health facility members would be deemed a positive step.
Keywords: Conflict management, interdisciplinary conflicts, Primary Health Care.