March 3, 2022

In today’s stressful workplace atmosphere, “Do Not Return” incidents have only increased within the healthcare space. Over the last 17 years, the travel healthcare industry determined that “Do Not Return” due to unprofessional behavior is the leading cause of a traveler’s contracts being cancelled. Often times with the stipulation of either the traveler and/or their agency are also not returning to the facility.

As in every workplace environment, conflicts will occur. The question is how are we as nursing and allied health professionals handling the conflict when either a disagreement or miscommunication first occur? What are the proper methods of conflict resolution?

Understanding communication methods are the focal point of conflict resolution. To do so, let us first discuss the basic foundations of communication.

In order to communicate there must be a sender and a receiver. The sender communicates to the receiver by either verbal and/or nonverbal techniques and strategies. Consequentially, the sender sets the tone for which the receiver may or may not understand the original messages intention.

Miscommunication occurs in many ways. For example, the receiver may perceive a different intention from the sender, or the receiver could have misunderstood the sender due to noise or visual obstruction. Ideally, the receiver does properly hear, is visualizing the sender and understands what the communication is along with its intention. However, to avoid any further misunderstanding, the receiver should reach back out to the sender and state their understanding clarification purposes. If the misunderstanding escalates into a conflict, the professional must determine how to de-escalate the situation.

There are five conflict resolution strategies that an individual uses in attempting to de-escalate a conflict: compromise, avoid, defeat, accommodate and collaborate. Within the speech communication community, the strategy of collaboration typically has the best overall outcome for all parties involved. This can entail speaking to those involved to gain a better understanding of the topic and offer clarification of the situation. It also involves prioritizing listening and developing a plan of action to best resolution the situation while addressing all parties that were involved.

For a professional healthcare traveler, due to working in unknown environments and new personnel, it’s important to develop the ability to navigate conflict resolution in a collaborative professional manner. Healthcare travel staffing agencies do not stand in your shoes when asked to do an unrealistic task or times of misunderstanding. In fact, healthcare travel staffing agencies aren’t usually informed of the situation or unresolved issues until the call is made. By this point, often times, the traveler is asked to not return for their next shift and the contract has been cancelled. This is why communication and collaboration are key for everyone’s success— especially the patients served.

Immediate communication to your recruiter and/or your staffing agency’s compliance team about any workplace issue is a key factor in maintaining a contract — especially when there are unresolved workplace circumstances. It is the staffing agency’s responsibility to support their clinician. The staffing agency should implement conflict resolution techniques involving communication and collaboration with the facility managers and/or VMS supervisors early in the conflict, in order to help save the contract.

When conflict is resolved to the best ability between the clinician, agency, and the facility, successful outcomes are seen across the board. This allows for the continuation of the contract, the ability to maintain current employment, scheduled coverage at the facility, and the patient’s ability to receive rightful quality healthcare.

Our team has extensive experience avoiding the dreaded “Do Not Return.” Our team is here to help our clinicians and facilities avoid these issues and address any uncertainties that may arise. Traveling to a new workplace or adding additional staff to your team doesn’t have to be stressful, Excite can help.


Deborah Kalinoski | VP of Compliance Operations