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Resilience in Healthcare

Updated on June 28, 2017


Resilience is a psychological term used in describing the capability of individuals in coping with catastrophes and stress. This could be either in their day to day endeavors or workplaces. Resilience has been quiet effective in healthcare settings than other principles such as high reliability owing to the complexities inherent in healthcare environment. Professionals in the healthcare have to encounter frequent restructuring, economic or social pressures which may subsequently lead to anxiety and distress while in a particular organization. This essay analyzes the factors contributing to resilience for healthcare consumers and professionals.

The Concept of Resilience

Resilience is the capability of a system in mounting a vigorous response to unexpected, unforeseen or unpredicted demands so as to ensure that the operations are as normal as possible (Fairbanks et al, 2014). Despite its nobility, the concept has been accepted and adopted in healthcare as well as other sectors that have a potential of high risk. Further, this concept has made it possible to comprehend how workers anticipate potential adverse outcome and prepare to act accordingly so as to evade adverse outcomes. According to Australian Public Service Commission (2013) resilience can as well involve individual efforts through changing how they think, how they behave and how they act. Further, establishment of resilience teams requires effective leadership, open and effective communication, mutual support and team cohesion.

Factors Contributing to Resilience to healthcare consumers

There are various factors contributing to resilience. According to APA studies, (2014) key among these is having a supportive and caring relationship both within and outside the family. Relationships which create trust and love act as role models to patients as well as providing reassurance and encouragement in bolstering the patient’s resilience.

Positivity is another key factor contributing to resilience and building strength. According to Warner and April (2012), resilience is chiefly characterized by the ability to alter negative thoughts to positive ones in order to cope with the demands of a hectic experience. This capability as noted by the author is critical in strengthening a patient’s physical, intellectual, psychological and social assets. Rather than focusing on the negative side, a patient is able to develop optimism, making such a person to have a deeper approach to life experiences. According to Miller (2014), positive emotions alter a person’s chemical change in the body which subsequently improves his or her health condition.

Variables which work in supporting positive outcomes are in most cases considered as protective factors. They include such factors as high quality parenting, conducive environment and support from family and individuals. There are also positive activities in extracurricular, caring and safe school environment, peer relationships, culture and community. Whereas; resilience individuals may not have in place, all of these protective factors, they could be able to find micro-niches if sufficient growth opportunities are availed to them even within the environments that are considered high risk. It should also be considered that an individual’s resilience has its background in his or her childhood (APA, 2014).

For healthcare consumers, the kind of positivity generated by resilience will include joy, hope, interest, inspiration, gratefulness, and feeling of amusements, pride, love and awe. Other benefits generated by positivity and optimism include reduction of stress hormones, improved functioning of the immune system, reduced blood pressure, better sleep and reduced pain. The author continues that a positive approach alters the working of the mind. Accordingly, it widens the probability that a person can be able to build and see individual resources over a specific time. Barajas (2015) reiterates that clinicians and other health professionals ought to consider positive emotions owing to its catalytic and generative impact on the general therapeutic process. Generally, positive thinking helps in widening a personal thinking, subsequently making it possible for them to draw a higher connection level while widening the ideals and possibilities. The resources could be physical, psychological, cognitive or social. When individuals and in this case health consumers employ these resources in an effective manner, then they are more likely to benefit from the available opportunities as well as in addressing the challenges.

It takes an individual effort for resilience to be developed. People react different to stressful and traumatic life events. This implies that a strategy to build resilience for a particular person might not work for another person. Therefore, there is a need to use different strategies for different people. Further, these variations might reflect cultural aspects since one’s culture could influence how one communicates feelings and how he or she deals with adversity. With the increasing level of cultural diversity, there is a greater access of the public in employing a number of approaches to build resilience.

Factors Contributing to Resilience among Professionals

Factors that are related with resilience among professionals includes but not limited to capability of making realistic plans and taking steps to undertake them, effectiveness in problem solving and communication, and the capability of managing impulses and strong feelings in relation to their experiences at their workplaces.

In order to create and sustain resilience in the workplace, it is important for nurses and other healthcare practitioners to undergo consistent training and development programs that are solely focused on this aspect. The authors Kotze and Lamb, (2012) advocate for resilience training for nurses and other healthcare professionals as a way of strengthening resilience among these workforce. Kotze and Lamb, go on to post that during such training and development programs, workers should as well be equipped with the skills and knowledge of dealing with the stressors which emanate from their day to day activities and general work environment. Further, organizations should endeavor to establish well programs for employees. Such initiatives according to the author ought to incorporate individual’s positive psychological wellbeing for workers alongside reducing the negative pressure. These may include providing such activities as social support and other stress coping means. If these professional’s attitude is changed and that they have the necessary knowledge and skills in dealing with the stressors, then they will be in a better position of making sound decisions. In addition, there will be enhanced employee retention since these employees will be motivated accordingly to work and stay in the organization. These strategies will significantly help in making healthcare workers more resilient in their roles and work environment generally.

In particular, individuals and in this case healthcare practitioners with high sense of optimism have been reported as being more creative, improve communication, enhanced decision making, more sociable, more receptive and ready to learn and utilize new opportunities.


It is apparent that resilience has a potential of enhancing efforts to patient safety as well as healthcare performance and improve outcome. This is because it has presented a shift in emphasis from concentrating on errors to working on mitigating the failure. Nonetheless, in order for healthcare professionals to effectively adopt and implement this concept in their practice, it is important to test and identify mechanisms for building and measuring resilience within the complex healthcare environment for the benefit of both the consumer and healthcare practitioners.


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