Resiliency in Nursing: 3 Steps to Success

by | Jul 10, 2014 | 3 comments

Searching the literature on nurse well-being can be tough. There are a lot of articles that can be found on the importance of resiliency in nursing, yet the evidence can be frustrating. Case studies, qualitative research and even meta-analyses can be found- however they all tend to have one thing in common.

They state that compassion fatigue, nurse burnout and secondary trauma syndrome are all issues and then the authors wrap up in the same way. They urge nursing leaders to do something to help nursing staff build resiliency. Yet that ‘something’ is not offered. No one concrete solution that works is ever given.

Maybe that is because there really is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. In the world of holistic health, we teach that instant gratification is not the answer. Yet we need to offer our nursing leadership something to help nurse resiliency. [Tweet “Here are three steps to strengthening the resilience of your nursing staff:”]

  • Avoid the mountains out of molehills perception. Life is stressful. Problems come and go. Yet the greater source of all that is will never give us more than we can handle. If you stay present in the moment, avoiding creating catastrophe of what has not even come, you can view the situation with a realistic and logical mind. Take your time to brainstorm in the here-and-now and allow your action to move you forward. Life is inherently a good thing and you can deal with all of the stresses thrown your way. Just take it one step at at time and you will be guided along your way.
  • Create connections. When the going gets tough, it is always best to have handy helpers along your way. What can you delegate out to take something off of your plate? How can you ask for help when you have too much to do? Who can you lean on for support when all you need is a shoulder to cry on? We are in a people populated world and there will always be someone who can help you through the stress.
  • Be mindful of the inevitable. We live in a changing space. Nothing stays the same forever. The world is an ever-moving place of impermanence. The more that we can remain unattached to expectation, outcome or the need to control the easier it is to flow with the process of life. Being flexible and fluid helps create resiliency in every changing situation life throws our way.

What would you add to this list? How would you suggest nurses build their resiliency muscles? What has helped you cope in stressful situations? 


  1. Marti Hansen

    Thank you for an interesting and thoughtful post. I have been using “staying in the present moment” mindset for several months now and it has seemd to help greatly. Things tend to go better and flow more smoothly. Many times I am presently surprised, too! There is always going to be change and more so in this day and age especially in the healthcare profession. As you said change is ever-moving so the best way to deal with it is to “go with the flow” and be flexible or you will find yourself frustrated and stressed…at least I found that to be true for me. I am much more relaxed and less stressed. I deal with issues as they arise as worrying about something you THINK might happen is wasted time.

  2. Marti Hansen

    As I read the post a second time I realized that I also find that keeping an open mind to co-workers thoughts, ideas and suggestions. There isn’t one way to do a task and allowing others to verbalize keeping an open mind and showing them that you are listening and do care about what they have to say. When you say that your door is always open, stick to that and really mean it! Make it an inviting place for any question or suggestion instead of a place that is always perceived for discipline.

    Going into work with a positive mindset and a smile can go a long way in making your shift a more pleasant experience rather than a stressful shift where you can’t wait to go home. It also goes a long way with your co-workers when they see your positive attitude and makes for a working enivironment where you are working together instead of working against each other.

    • Elizabeth Scala

      This is totally awesome, Marti. I am so glad that you have seen the benefit, not only with respect to how you show up to your career, but also how you interact with your co-workers. That makes the shift go much, much more smoothly. Thank you for being a role model of walking your talk. I love hearing how all of this is playing out for you and how much success you have had. Keep on shining that bright light so that all can see. Enjoy the day, Elizabeth



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