The 5 Benefits of Resilience in Nursing

Five Benefits of Resilience in Nursing

These days, between burnout and bullying, there is an even greater need for resilience in nursing. Whether it is a difficult shift, a nasty coworker, a rude patient, or even a question of whether or not you can continue at the pace you work at… nurses need self-care strategies that go beyond healthy eating and proper sleep.

The need for resilience in nursing is at an all-time high. This next post will outline the benefits for you- so that you can make the decision if taking care of yourself is of value or not.

Rather than me (or any other blogger out there) telling you that you have to put yourself first, taking care of your own health and well-being, I’d like to give you that option for yourself.

Pros vs. Cons

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Quick & Adaptive

Wherever you work as a nurse, I imagine that the setting is fast-paced. Even if there is some downtime or maybe a slower shift here or there… things are continuously changing. Being able to adapt quickly builds resilience in nursing. This nimble nature can be beneficial as often fast responses are needed in the healthcare setting. A resilient nurse who displays a quick and adaptive response brings stability to a crisis and maintains inner calmness during a stressful situation.

Or, you could be rigid and not adapt to change? But how will that feel for you when a new policy is initiated on your unit? What good will that do for your patient when you are unwilling to respond to changes in their status? Quick and adaptive may just be the way to go here!

Anything is Possible

Instead of saying “no”, ask “what’s next”. Resilience in nursing is about seeing what’s possible, even in the most dire of situations. Being able to go through a hard time and come out on the other side builds confidence. Once you see that you really can accomplish anything, you are more prepared for the new challenges that come your way in nursing. Resilience grows a sense of self-efficacy inside of you… making it easy for you to curiously ask “What’s next?!”

Or, you could think that you are a failure… unable to do anything right. How will that go over with your nursing team? Do you think that they will trust in you as a coworker if you are afraid of taking the next step? To me, the confidence and self-assurance that grows out of resilience is much more enticing… it’s your choice.

Healthy Immune System

The growing body of research suggests that positive emotions (e.g. happiness, gratitude, peace) are associated with healthy immune system functioning. On the other hand, negative emotions can be associated with weaker immune function. All other things aside, just to have a healthier physical body is reason enough to build resilience in nursing.

Think about it- nurses need to show up to work, right? Certain organizations ding their employees for a number of sick days. Nurses feel guilty letting their team down and often avoid calling out of work. How about a bit of extra boost in the physical well-being department?

Being a resilient nurse can be good for your health! And to think, you don’t even have to go an extra day to the gym!

Reflect, Not React

Controlled reactions… these could go a LONG way in nursing. Put yourself in this situation… A surgeon screams at you in front of the entire team. You would love to throw some four letter explicits right back at them!

STOP. Reflect, not react. There is a better way.

Resilience in nursing can support our ability to reflect, rather than hastily react (and regret later).

Or… you could just curse right back at the doc… causing YOU to possibly be the employee in greater trouble. It’s up to you…

Transformative Growth

A nurse who is resilient is constantly growing. They learn from most every situation or experience. Rather than staying stuck in frustration, boredom, or some other form of nursing job that they hate- the resilient nurse learns all of the time.

Going through a stressful, even challenging, situation can create opportunity for transformation. Instead of staying in the same place, the nurse who aspires to be resilient, will learn, change, and even grow from hardship.

Or, you could continue to wallow in self-pity and pain… Not sure how that will benefit you, your nursing career, your coworkers, or the patients that you take care of… You decide.

OK- what did we miss? What are some other benefits to building resilience in nursing? Share a comment below to help a fellow nursing colleague out. And thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Scala, MSN/MBA, RNAbout the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the bestselling author of ‘Nursing from Within’, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver. 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.