St. Judes Children Research Hospital

St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital


TOC o “1-3” h z u HYPERLINK l “_Toc380163474” Role conflicts within groups PAGEREF _Toc380163474 h 1

HYPERLINK l “_Toc380163475” Communication problems among group members PAGEREF _Toc380163475 h 3

HYPERLINK l “_Toc380163476” Lack of cohesiveness in groups with diverse members PAGEREF _Toc380163476 h 4

HYPERLINK l “_Toc380163477” Excessive intergroup conflict PAGEREF _Toc380163477 h 7

St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital is a healthcare facility that solely focuses on research and treatment of cancer, as well as other catastrophic diseases that children contract such as sickle cell and influenza. The reason behind my choosing of this facility is that I was able to live and witness their excellent services when trying to save my 16 year old son’s life, though he finally succumbed to illness and died. This is when i came to realized the high level of professionalism and team work that have continue to make the organizational successful. As a National cancer institute and cancer care center St. Jude’s hospital has been dedicated towards developing research protocols, aimed at improving the overall childhood cancer survival rates by up to 80 %. The hospital, founded in 1962 and based in Memphis, Tennessee U.S.A, serves as a dependable resource for a variety of researchers and physicians, treating children across the U.S and also overseas. As a hired consultant by this hospital, i did find out several inconsistencies that need to be addressed in order to improve the harmonization of activities. An analysis of the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital reveals some noteworthy challenges facing the hospital’s leadership, which consequently calls, for an immediate articulation of the prevailing personnel issues.

Role conflicts within groupsRole conflicts within groups arise occasionally mainly perpetuated by the presence of conflicting responsibilities. Role conflicts also prevail when a group member is asked to perform a task contrary to what they are supposed to do. Conflicts within groups tend to cause frictions and frustrations among the members; hence solving them as soon as they arise is of paramount importance (Pammer, 2003). The occurrence of role conflicts is nearly inevitable considering that each member is endowed with a wide range of responsibilities within the group. The importance of having good communication is thus essential, in order to limit the tensions that come with the conflicts together with allowing for individuals to understand that they have their multiple roles to perform.

Though the roles of St. Jude’s Children hospital’s staff are clearly defined, there still exists some small forms of role conflicts that need to be addressed or else their effects begin to have a gradual detrimental effect to the organization. The complex and frequency of interactions among the medical personnel in consideration with the variety of roles they play are a basis for conflicts occurrences at some times. The expectations laid upon the physicians in the hospital, which involves the management of both human and financial resources bring about a conflict of roles in the hospital (Haux, 2004). When the physicians juggle between management responsibilities and clinical care, compounded with training of future doctors and research, the results are that there is a conflict of roles in this hospital that takes place. This is not to say that the doctor’s role in management is not required considering that their skills in observation, analysis, ethical judgment and problem solving are critical for the continued success of this hospital.

For these doctors to manage this conflict in their roles, it is essential for them to improve their management skills through management education. They should also participate in their doctor jobs minimally, such as provision of consultancy services only. To further increase their managerial ability and in the process overcome their prevailing role conflicts, the physicians need to increase their knowledge together with skills in financial management and strategies, organization design, and program quality improvement (Haux, 2004). This will in turn enable them to increase the doctor’s efficiency in management and at the same time define their definite jobs hence better their services to this hospital. Additionally, it is necessary to blend the doctors in managerial positions with trained managers in the field of management who are not necessarily doctors for the betterment of the services provide by St. Jude’s hospital.

Communication problems among group membersWhen group members interact, communication problems are bound to surface, which is typical of humans. Effective communication is such an essential tool for productivity in any group, lack of which leads to a detrimental effect in the quality of services offered. The understanding of arising group concerns leading to communication problems and addressing the problems is essential in creating an efficient communication network in the group. Groups are dynamic in nature and, therefore, contain individuals from diverse backgrounds implying that care must be taken during interactions (Poole, Gouran, &Frey, 1999).

As a result of the diversities prevalent in groups, certain communication problems that arise are language barriers, personal issues, lack of effective feedback, lack of openness between members, communication of incorrect information, delay in communication of essential information, and the inclusion of new members to the group. With this in mind, understanding of group diversities leading to communication problems is thus essential for the effective functioning of the group (Poole, Gouran, &Frey, 1999). Though St. Jude’s communication framework is well designed, some communication problems in the hospital are evidently present, the addressing of which, will lead to the betterment of the hospital’s services.

The main communication problem in St. Jude’s hospital is the inability of some nurses, to effectively interpret information given to them by doctors concerning the patients. A number of nurses in this facility lack competency in the documentation of medical records and the timely communication of these documents to relevant personnel. The accurate nurse-physician communication from several nurses is not good enough which necessitates that, effective measures towards addressing this problem needs implementation with immediate effect (Pammer, 2003). A scenario exhibiting the existence of this problem is when a nurse gave a drug in excess to a patient contrary to what the doctor had prescribed.

St. Jude’s hospital can overcome this problem by ensuring that their hiring of nurses should be through proper testing and assessment of those nurses who have the skills in taking care of cancer diseases, together with other diseases that the hospital cures. The hospital, therefore, must have policies and procedures aimed at verifying unit specific competencies from nurses, in addition to the general skills required for the hiring of nurses. Nurses hired to work at a cancer center like this one obviously have different skills from the nurses working in the neurosurgery unit. The hospital, therefore, should endeavor to have competent staff in their specific cancer units to enhance smooth communication between the different practitioners. The hospital should also conduct specific unit training for their nurses as a way of improving their nursing skills, following the requirements of specific medical units in line with the hospital’s requirements and policies.

Lack of cohesiveness in groups with diverse membersGroup cohesion is a very essential characteristic which determines how well any group gels together. Examples of factors affecting group’s cohesion are social and environmental factors (Seashore, 1994). The social factors involve the various activities that individuals participate in and help them to remain focused on the group goals. Failure of an excellent correlation between group activities leads to a lack of cohesiveness in the group. Environmental factors are caused by external aspects, which enhance the togetherness of any group, whether the factors are appealing or not.

It is crucial to note that individual’s motivation towards remaining in groups is largely influenced by the valuable goals shared in the group. This in other words implies that people exist in groups as a means to an end. The interaction that takes place in groups influences group cohesion to a large extent since individuals desire to be in groups that are working efficiently for their own benefits rather than one that wastes time and misuses their skills (Seashore, 1994). Having noted this, it is, therefore, of paramount importance to understand the factors that create and maintain this social bond in groups. Some of the enabling factors are; the attraction of members towards each other as individuals, shared common goals and values, self esteem of each group member, a common threat to out-do competitors, and success in the attainment of goals or the presence of a progress geared towards the achievement of these goals (Seashore, 1994).

Considering that St. Jude’s hospital is acknowledged internationally, sick kids from diverse parts of the world are brought for treatment. This, in turn, creates communication problems since some of these children’s parents have limited English proficiency or even lack the knowledge of the English language, creating a communication barrier which derails the treatment services. To solve this problem adequately, St. Jude’s hospital should strive to at least employ medical professionals from diverse parts of the world to assist when such cases arise. The improved use of modern communication technology, in terms of being able to contact language translators from different parts of the world, would also enhance the hospitals endeavors of saving children’s lives.

Heterogeneous groups that have diverse members in terms of their culture background characteristics such as beliefs, culture and practices, are likely to have a cohesion breakdown as compared to homogenous groups. This is because individuals tend to lean towards individuals, with whom they share an origin, hence creating a social distance in the process. This further leads to the creation of barriers of inclusion to belonging to certain subgroups within a main group (Berkeley, Laflèche, Wetherell, 2007).

Considering that St. Jude’s hospital is a national center and is recognized internationally, the hospital is thus characterized with a mixture of medical professionals hailing from different backgrounds, apart from the majority who are Americans. St. Jude’s hospital consequently experiences the lack of cohesion between American medical professionals and non Americans. This lack of cohesion is, however, not so much pronounced since its minimal. However, the problem needs to be addressed to prevent its escalation. The lack of cohesion between non American and American staff is mostly propagated by the American staff, who in some cases seem to down look upon their non American colleagues. This though not pronounced, creates frictions between these professionals which is not a good sign for a hospital of such a high caliber.

It is necessary for each member of the St. Jude Hospital to realize that every one of them have their own areas of expertise and weaknesses. The management of this hospital, therefore, should, endeavor to create an organizational culture that enhances cohesion among its employees. Cultivation of task based cohesion should be reinforced since it helps in the prediction of employees’ behaviors and attitudes. Conducting of cohesion oriented workshops is also necessary for this hospital in order to keep the spirit of working together as one unit alive. (Berkeley, Laflèche, Wetherell, 2007).

Such workshops should be aimed at maintaining oneness in the hospital, geared towards the achievement of one common goal. The hospital management, therefore, should strive to instill these values to its employees by conducting regular seminars aimed at promoting the service to humanity activities that the hospital stands for, which is taking care of life without discriminating.

Excessive intergroup conflictAs groups work towards the achievements, of their goals, interactions between each other have to take place which may lead to the occurrence of conflicts among the members. The conflicts may either help the group go forward while, on the other hand, the conflicts may lead to ruining of the groups efforts (Scalzi, 1984). Functional conflict, which is considered to be positive, enhances performance among the group members. Dysfunctional conflict, on the other hand, harms or hinders the attainment of the group’s goals since its confrontational and leaves individuals with hard feelings towards each other (Scalzi, 1984). Causes of excessive intergroup conflicts are the presence of immense variation in the goals the members aspire to accomplish and diverse differences in perception. Groups are defined by various values and unique traits that distinguish a certain group from another, A violation of these principles by any member can consequently lead to the occurrence of excessive inter groups conflicts which is detrimental to their success.

Some forms of excessive intergroup conflicts do exist at St. Jude’s hospital. These have been accelerated by the high levels of disagreements exhibited by some personnel in the hospital. The presence of high pitched verbal aggressions at times, cultural discrimination, non-coping behavior exhibited by some personnel and diverse personal differences have been the main contributors to excessive conflicts in the hospital. This has led to disenchantment among some of the professionals which have had a substantial negative effect to the organization.

It is of paramount importance that St. Jude’s hospital enforces a strict adherence to the hospital’s professional code of ethics, with severe penalties following the breach of these laws. It is imperative that such elements cannot be condoned in such a prestigious hospital which will only serve to diminish both its reputation and integrity. The management should also endeavor to analyze events leading to such actions and act on them first as a means of cutting the root course of the problem (Scalzi, 1984). To further achieve its objectives in extinguishing this vice, the hospital’s leadership should work without impartiality of either race or gender, failure of which would create further misunderstandings and conflicts within the hospital.

Effective leadership is essential for an organization like St. Jude’s hospital in its efforts towards the creation of a harmonious working environment. The existing problems in groups require that a step by step articulation is taken for a workable and effective solution to be realized. Care should be taken when dealing with such pertinent matters for the benefit of the parties involved. Groups are dynamic in nature and are characterized by diverse individualities which mean that, their improvement requires extensive knowledge in groups management. Though St. Jude’s hospital has a relatively good working relationship among its personnel, the group factors discussed above, need to be addressed sufficiently for the continued productivity of the facility.


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Haux, R. (2004). Strategic information management in hospitals: An introduction to hospital information systems. New York [u.a.: Springer.

Pammer, W. J. (2003). Handbook of conflict management. New York [u.a.: Dekker.

Scalzi, C. C. (1984). An exploratory study of the relationship between role conflict and ambiguity and depressive symptoms in top level nurse administrators.

Seashore, S. E. (1994). Group cohesiveness in the industrial work group. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Wetherell, M., Laflèche, M., & Berkeley, R. (2007). Identity, ethnic diversity and community cohesion. London: Sage.