Conflict Issues in the NICU


The charge nurse, two buddy nurses, and a dietitian begin their shift in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), when a newborn child of a 16 year old mother is admitted. As the mother is young and living in a shelter, she is accompanied by her youth worker to the hospital. The infant has been admitted for shortness of breath, but also has mongolian spots. Upon completing first rounds, the dietitian notices the mongolian spots, which look like bruises. The hospital policy states that she has a duty to report concerns of child abuse or negligence directly to a hospital social worker. She then goes directly to the social worker and brings them to the NICU to investigate the situation. Once the social worker and dietitian return to the NICU, the conflict begins between the nurses, dietitian, and social worker. The youth worker begins to explain that the client is not harming the child, but takes the time to meet with the mother to inform her of the situation and ask her questions. The youth worker returns, requesting that the mother is able to come in and discuss the situation, however the dietitian is uncomfortable with this, and the social worker states that she has already talked to the mother and does not feel it is appropriate for her to be in the room, and wants to be alone with her sick baby. A conflict erupts about this, and the disturbance is brought to the attention of the charge nurse, who later steps in as a mediator. The charge nurse aims to transform the conflict through guidance in an attem/pt to change the relationships between the interdisciplinary professionals. The final result will be the professionals agreeing to allow the mother to come in and discuss the issue with her infant’s interdisciplinary team, and the nurses and dietitians head over to read the patient chart and realize that the bruises are mongolian spots.