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New dual-degree nursing and graduate programming integrates emerging health care issues with practice of conflict resolution

Professionals in today’s healthcare field can experience conflict and complex communication issues, yet many have not had a lot of training in basic conflict management. Creighton University has recently added a dual-degree program to give future and current healthcare professionals and others tools to diffuse difficult and complicated situations on the job.

Through Creighton University School of Law’s Werner Institute and the College of Nursing, the new masters dual-degrees offered are: Doctor of Nursing/Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution; Master of Science in Nursing/Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.

“In an increasingly complex and changing healthcare environment, we are finding that an advanced skillset is needed more than ever. Our students are already equipped with the skills to communicate; this programming takes it a step further,” said Senior Associate Dean of Creighton’s College of Nursing, Dr. Cindy Costanzo.

“Recent empirical data indicates that health care professionals  spend more than 50 percent of their work day dealing with conflict, predominantly with  other health professionals, administrators, as well as assisting patients and their families deal with crisis ,” said Professor of Law and Director of the Werner Institute, Dr. Jacqueline Font. “The prevalence of conflict in the clinical setting requires that healthcare professionals have training in basic conflict management, team skills, interest-based bargaining and conflict engagement.”

Costanzo and Font have been advocates for increased skills in conflict resolution; in 2006, they created a partnership between the Werner Institute and College of Nursing. They believe leading contributors toward injury during medical treatment are breakdowns in communication and teamwork.

The programming provides future and current professionals with an advanced skillset for optimal communication with patients, their family members as well as other individuals in the workplace. This advanced skillset can be applied in a variety of settings for doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators and paramedics, in addition to lawyers in healthcare.

 “Ever since I graduated from nursing school nearly 20 years ago, I have contemplated going to law school. It wasn’t until I came across the dual degree program between the College of Nursing and the Werner Institute at the Creighton School of Law, that I found the right program for me,” said Margaret Begley, BA, BSN, RN. “The beauty of this dual degree is that conflict is in every aspect of our lives. I feel it will serve me well in my nursing career and any health care leadership role in my future.”

For health care professionals and individuals in leadership roles already working in healthcare or a related field who are looking to expand their skillset, the Werner Institute and College of Nursing also offer a certificate in Health Care Collaboration and Conflict Management. Courses are offered both online and on-campus. More information about the dual-degree program can be found here.

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Creighton University is a Jesuit, Catholic university bridging health, law, business and the arts and sciences for a more just world.