ABSTRACT

Given that health care is a matter of life and death, literally, it is self-evident that the health care arena is one of the most stressful workplace environments. Patients and family members are fearful and anxious and often find navigating the health care system confusing and frustrating. Health care providers work long hours under the constant strain of knowing their actions have potentially dramatic consequences. These factors contribute to unique forms of conflict in the health care arena. There are a variety of ways in which mediation can be helpful within the context of the health care system. This chapter focuses on the uses of mediation and mediation skills to address conflict within the health care team or between members of the health care team and patients or their families. For the purposes of this chapter, mediation is defined as a voluntary, confidential process in which an impartial third party assists disputants in discussing their conflict, and in which any settlement is developed and agreed to by the parties.