In this section we introduce you to what we mean by resilience and how it connects with wellbeing, what influences our resilience and why it is important to develop our resilience.
Deirdre, a lecturer in Mental Health Nursing, links resilience and wellbeing highlighting how internal and external factors impact our capacity to be resilient.
What is resilience?
When exposed to significant challenges resilience refers to our capacity to access what we need from within ourselves and from our environment to help sustain our wellbeing. It also relates to how as individuals and communities we negotiate for these resources in culturally meaningful ways.
Why is resilience important?
As a student nurse or student midwife you are caring for people who themselves can be facing significant challenges and this can impact on your wellbeing. Resilience plays a vital role in enhancing wellbeing for those working in healthcare. Being resilient as a nurse or midwife means being able to adapt to challenges avoid lasting psychological distress while providing the best circumstances for those people in your care.
How do we build resilience?
We might have personal attributes that are a part of our resilience, however resilience is something that changes over time and can be built and developed at any point in your life. Many of the practices in this resource (such as mindfulness and yoga) will support you in building your resilience over time. Our beliefs, family and friends, our communities, the organisations within which we work, and policies also impact on our resilience. As resilient individuals we can make a positive impact on those we care for and the culture within which we work.
How can increasing resilience help us to manage challenges?
Resilience can help to positively change perspective in the face of adversity. The challenge cannot be taken away but how we view it and adapt can help us to recover and grow from the challenge. Being resilient means being able to use our personal strengths and experiences in a positive way and negotiate for resources to meet these challenges.
What are the benefits of being more resilient?
Research has shown that more resilient individuals have less burnout, stress, distress and fatigue. They may also have better general well-being levels of happiness and job satisfaction. They may feel they give better care and may be more inclined to want to stay in the job they are in.
Listen to what current students have to say about resilience like... Jade who sees resilience as unique to the individual and Conor who points to the importance of learning from and not ruminating on adverse work experiences.
While this is a resource focused on individual resilience we don’t live in isolation.
Credit: Developed with permission from the Trauma Resource Institute.
Good advice for all students - Build resilience through connection and learning from the people you care for and work with.
Reaffirm our compassion for ourselves, the people we care for, our colleagues, the community, organisation and profession.
Tip: we can do this by making time for self-care Using the practices in this resource will help foster self-compassion a necessary starting point for building resilience.
Regain control and recognise our capabilities. The more in control we feel, the better able we are to adapt to challenges.
Tip: try the breathing and yoga practices in this resource to help foster your own sense of personal control.
Take time to assess the situation and choose how to respond rather than react? ‘This wasn’t planned but can I realign my goals to suit this situation?’
Tip: do a mindfulness practice then reflect on what you might need to do next.
Reflect on how you managed the challenges. What resources were used that you can tap into again? What could have been done better, what strengths did you demonstrate that perhaps surprised you?
Tip: Art journaling can help you focus and deal with your emotions following a challenging situation. You might like to try this and then write a reflective account.
Visit the SOS section of this resource for an introduction to some practices that may help you to build and maintain your resilience. These practices have been shown to enhance feelings of control, allowing the release of tension and the restructuring of thoughts and the ability to adapt to stressful adverse situations.
Resilience needs to be nurtured and sustained. It is a process and like a plant that needs watered, your resilience needs boosted.
In the Maintaining Resilience section of this resource you will find practices that you can build into your daily life to help maintain resilience.