Resilience: A 4-Part Blog Series
At the Healthcare Experience Foundation, we are working hard to help grow people, places, and processes so that every person can deliver and receive the best healthcare. As such, we are excited to bring you a 4-part series (published each week for the next four weeks) on resilience, one of our favorite topics and one that so important for both caregivers and patients. We hope you will take away some learning to put into practice, and we invite your feedback, comments, and stories!
When my son was four, he wore a cape—everywhere he went. He was a superhero in his own mind. And, whether because of the cape or not, he was able to do physical things well—he rode a bike at five with no training wheels and no real assistance in learning; he ran faster than his classmates; he was fearless on a playground. Now, here’s the irony: My son’s cape consisted of a blanket and a clothes-pin, but that cape was his strength, his reminder that he contained greatness. Our capes may not be visible to the world—whether as impressive flowing garments or as blankets, but when we are aware of them, we are unstoppable!
What is Resilience?
As defined by Merriam Webster, resilience is either a) the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress, or b) an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. As an engineer as well as a healthcare professional, I am especially fond of the first definition. Compressive stress evokes the image of being squeezed, being pressed by outside forces. As healthcare leaders and caregivers, those forces come at us daily and span everything from community pressures to CMS requirements to changing paradigms about what constitutes health and healthcare.
In the face of such stress, we have choices. We can seek to understand the perspectives of the many participants in the healthcare landscape and respond from our core beliefs, aligned with the values of our organizations, or we can collapse under the weight of that stress. Psychologically, the first option demonstrates a higher-order mental functioning; the second, a response governed by the reptilian brain. The first offers resilience; the second perpetuates a fight-flight-frozen reaction.
What are the compressive forces you face in your work? How are you resilient? We’d love to know what resilience means to you!
Send us your comments and check back next week for Part 2: Fight-Flight Freeze versus Resilience.
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