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Mediation to Help Nurses and Patients at Bethel College

Saturday, May, 20, 2017

Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas is the only college in Kansas offering a course in Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies as part of its general education requirements.   Since the college is one of the most popular nursing programs in the state, nurses will now be required to participate in this mediation-focused course.   Nursing students participating in the course will attend a customized adaptation that focuses on how to use conflict resolution and mediation in the healthcare industry.   All students admitted to the nursing program must take this four-day intensive course at the start of his or her junior year. 


According to one graduate of the program, Abby Schrage, “There is plenty of conflict in healthcare.” She thinks that dealing with conflict is an essential skill for nurses and she often faces conflicts that arise between patients and their families while working.   She explains, “Often there are disagreements about the correct plan of care for my patients, with the actual patient wanting one thing and different members of the family wanting others.   This has been especially difficult in end-of-life care or care of patients with dementia.” Schrag claims the mediation class taught her was to “…really take the time to listen to people and acknowledge their thoughts and feelings. ” She believes her education has helped her avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings between patients and their families. 


Originally, the mediation course was voluntary, but it eventually was integrated into the required curriculum.   Those familiar with the life of the program acknowledge it got off to a rough start because students did not understand how it related to nursing.   However, the course was eventually modified to have a focus on healthcare issues and incorporated healthcare scenarios into the role-playing students did in class.