Tips to Boost Resilience

Resilience. It’s a buzz word these days. Before we go into some tips for increasing resilience, let’s review the definition so that we’re all on the same page.

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, resilience is:

1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
Essentially, for people, it means we can bounce back.

Resilience in Nursing

Why is resilience important in nursing? Well, as nurses, we see, hear, feel and experience traumatic situations in the workplace.

Patients die. They experience harmful safety events. Mistakes are made – even by us! It can be emotionally taxing to work as a nurse in health care.

And yet, nurses still thrive. No matter how tough it can feel to work as a nurse, I still hear nurse after nurse say how rewarding the profession can be.

Since we can experience tough times on the job – we need ways to help us recover and bounce back. Hence, why we need to be resilient as nurses!

Tips to Boost Resilience

Alrighty, so are there any tips to boost resilience in nursing? You bet there are!

Here are 4 ways to increase resilience as a nurse:

  • Avoid catastrophe by shifting your viewpoint. When I worked as a psychiatric nurse, I remember one of my supervisors telling me that I was catastrophic. At the time, I took great offense to that label. “Me, no way! The world really IS falling apart all around me.” Guess what? That turned out to be extremely untrue. Even though we did have bad shifts on our unit, the world was not falling apart. It was merely how I viewed the experiences at work. So, think about yourself and how you view situations. Are you a half-full or half-empty kind of person? Do you need to pay attention to how you react to experiences? Is there any room to re-evaluate the perspective that you take?
  • Move forward towards desires. Most people tend to focus on what they do not want. In fact, it’s totally normal to do so (even easier). It’s that fight or flight scenario. Run away from threats! Right? Well, here’s another opportunity to rewire your brain. Rather than always paying attention to what you don’t want to have happen – focus more so on what you do want out of life (and work). When we can focus on our desires, we grow into change. We become more resilient and able to cope with stressful times.
  • Look to grow and change. I used to state a daily affirmation that went something like this: “I am grateful for every experience life brings my way as these are opportunities to grow, learn and change.” Being resilient is about bouncing back. Which means that even those obstacles or hardships provide room for growth. Instead of being bogged down with a challenge – you can choose to approach it as a chance to learn something new!
  • Focus on strengths. So often, we pay attention to what’s wrong with us. I may think my hair isn’t long enough or my eyes aren’t pretty enough. I may make a mistake at work and think about it day after day, week after week… even while at home. Why do we beat ourselves up in this way? It’s not helping anyone – especially not us! Rather than focusing on what you could do better or how you would like yourself more, pay attention to your strengths. If you need help, ask others. Often times, our closest friends can see the good in us that we may overlook.

Would love to hear your thoughts on resilience and any tactics you’ve tried! Tell us by commenting below, how have you been able to cultivate resilience in your nursing career?

p1050390About the Author: Keynote speaker and podcaster, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift podcast, Elizabeth supports nursing organizations in celebrating and recognizing their staff in a meaningful way. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.

 

 

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RN

“I’m a Nurse, but I’m Not Sure I LOVE Nursing Anymore! Can You Help Me?”

 

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