How to Build Resilience in Healthcare
In our world of healthcare, are we, personally and collectively, strong, fearless, and resilient? If so, what makes us this way? And, if not, why not?
Andrea Ovans’ 2015 article, “What Resilience Means and Why It Matters,” points to an unfortunate reality. Not only do many of us not feel resilient in work and in workplace seems to contribute to a strain on our resilience reserves.
A small but intriguing new survey by a pair of British consultants confirms the importance of resilience to business success. Resilience was defined by most as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity. Sarah Bond and Gillian Shapiro asked 835 employees from public, private, and nonprofit firms in Britain what was happening in their own lives that required them to draw on those reserves. Respondents didn’t point to tragedies like the London Tube bombings, appalling business mistakes, the need to keep up with the inexorably accelerating pace of change, or the challenges of the still-difficult economy. Surprisingly, they pointed to their co-workers.
A whopping 75% of them said that the most significant drain on their resilience reserves was “managing difficult people or office politics at work.” That was followed closely by stress brought on by overwork and by having to withstand personal criticism.
This narrative points to our need to consider again the importance of workplace culture—the look and feel and sound of the place, the interactions we have with each other, the use of our vision and mission to direct everything we do. We can build our resilience by supporting one another through hard times and good times, by assuming the best in everyone’s intentions, and by offering a human-centered approach to our work. Not only do we receive when we give, but our reserves are replenished when we are supported in helping each other. This allows us to enjoy both our work and our relationships our energy, our wisdom, and our care to help our patients and to grow our own lives every day.
Resilience can be developed. Just as my son, in his homemade, clothes-pinned cape was invincible (see Resilience Blog, Part I), so can we be invincible and resilient. Believe in yourself; be willing to fall down and get up again; and know that your greatness comes from a deep well that needs to be renewed often. With this knowledge, we can accomplish many things on behalf of our patients and each other, all the while building our own resilience so that we grow ourselves as we help others.
We have received overwhelming feedback this month on our 4-Part Blog Series. Thank you for taking the time to share your insights with us. We continue to welcome your thoughts, experiences, and ideas. On a side note, are there additional topics you would like for us to write about? If so, let us know.