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  1. Christman, Luther P. PhD, RN, FAAN

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Zapping Conflict in the Health Care Workplace, Dr. Judith Briles. Aurora, CO, The Briles Group, Inc., 2003. 378 pages, softcover.


This book on conflict in the health care workplace is divided into two major sections. The first section (six chapters) focuses on what's what in the workplace. The second section (eight chapters) is written to help explain how thriving in the work place may occur if effective strategies are employed. The comparison between males and females in both fomenting and managing conflict are explored in depth.


The sexual differences in managing are examined and documented. Although there are some crossovers the male versus female style of behavior is filled with subtle and open differences that further enhance discord. The extensions of these behaviors shows clearly that sex-oriented patterns of behavior have a continuous presence and must be handled with some concession to each gender if effective outcomes are the goal. The overwhelming presence of one gender reduces the tendency to compromise. Instead, the tendency to stereotypical behavior is present consistently.


Because the nursing profession has never been required to conform to the same affirmative action conditions as have prevailed in the male professions. It remains 85% white females after all these years of affirmative action legislation. The general population shows that 35% of women are not white and that 45% of the population is male. Women who are not white and men of all races (5%) have to conform to the domination of white women. The data probably would show much different behavior patterns of change such as that occurring in the various predominately men's professions at a steady pace. The behavior patterns in the profession, in all likelihood would e very different if the nursing profession would have had to emulate the medical profession in it's recruitment and retention of students. When a profession has little to fear from retribution it is unlikely to voluntarily change to implement such behavior as the Golden Rule-an underlying principle in affirmative action. Can one imagine how pharmacy, dentistry, and medicine would be if they had not been forced into affirmative action?


Both major political parties have refrained from insisting that the women's professions conform to afirmative action in the pattern that men have had to follow. When a group of male nurses presented the proposition that all professions should follow equally in conformity to the affirmative action legislation, they were told by top administrators in Washington that responsibility would never occur. The men in nursing were rebuffed. The statement from the top administrator was, "It is comparatively easy to force men to cnform to affirmative action but women are too tough." They are very unwilling to conform and we will not attempt to force them to comply. He dismissed the meeting and said they would not permit another meeting to discuss the issue. Until this climate changes, all the conclusions reached in this text about gender behavior and conflict will prevail. Imagine what the difference would be in the nursing shortage if it reflected the total male population. Two studies have been done. The latest showed that 97% of male nurses work full time from the time they graduate until retirement. Only 35% of women do likewise. There probably would not even be a discussion of the nurse shortage if it was 40% male. That still would leave women with 60% of the work force.