Civility and Dealing with Conflict in Diverse Health Care Environments, Santa Monica College, 3/29/19

Recently I visited College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA to talk about careers for the social good. My wife, Lena Choudhary, JD, MSN, RN who teaches nursing at Montgomery College in Maryland spoke at Santa Monica College (SMC) (March 29, 2019) while I was in Santa Clarita.

The focus of her work is civility in nursing. She helps her students understand how best to deal with difficult situations and conflict in the workplace. For many of her students, their first job will be working in a hospital setting. Today, health care environments are some of the most diverse professional settings. Young nurses often struggle with dealing with expectations placed on them and conflict with more senior nurses.

Bullying is an issue at times. This can affect morale among nurses as well as patient service. A first step to improving relations on the floor is understanding one’s own conflict style. She has her students use the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Assessment to consider their own approach to differences. Her students access it through the U.S. Institute of Peace site. She had the students at SMC determine their conflict style. She has published recently on civility in nursing in the professional journal Nursing2019.

During the presentation, she showed a video that she co-developed at Montgomery College on civility and asked students to consider how they might approach the situation presented.

Click here for the video

Conflict is ubiquitous. How we deal with it is important to improving professional outcomes, morale at work, and service to clients and patients. Improving civility be important in enhancing patient services and the all important work of health care.

Her visit was sponsored by the International Education Center and Nursing Program at SMC.

If you are interested in her work, she can be reached at


Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

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