The values and personal beliefs of veterinary staff and clients can be a cause of conflict. Understanding how values contribute to conflict improves the veterinary nurse's ability to minimise and resolve these conflicts. This article describes the key issues of value conflict and methods for resolving such conflicts in the veterinary environment.
Veterinary nurses are no strangers to the art of conflict resolution. The veterinary clinic is often a high-pressure environment, frequently staffed by trait perfectionists (Crane et al, 2015), and attended by sometimes stressed clients (Spitznagel et al, 2018). It is no wonder that recent studies have identified a range of wellbeing issues that can be caused by conflict, such as compassion fatigue, burnout and moral injury (Moses et al, 2018; Montoya et al, 2020; Vivian et al, 2022). Conflicts are often driven by differences in values and beliefs between the participants (Harinck and Druckman, 2017), and yet this element can sometimes be minimised in discussions of conflict resolution. This article discusses the impact of values and moral beliefs on conflicts within the veterinary industry and identifies strategies to help achieve acceptable compromise and reduce challenges to wellbeing.