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Resilience: Whatever Gets You through the Night

Virginia Allum

May 2020 | Article | EALTHY Blog | Pandemics

As Covid-19 takes hold on our lives, we rely on medical professionals who continue working in a challenging environment ignoring by necessity that many health systems globally were already facing nurse shortages, an ageing workplace and a shrinking health budget. By examining previous crises such as the 1918 Influenza pandemic and the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic, the importance of personal and organisational resilience emerges as an essential arm in the fight against the relentless Covid-19 opponent.

In her article, ‘What the COVID-19 pandemic tells us about the need to develop resilience in the nursing workforce’, Deborah Duncan presents us with a list of how tos . They are interesting not least because of their simplicity. They are actions which are achievable by all of us. They are actions we should be practising each day, virus or no virus. I was drawn to the final suggestion, that of journal writing and self-reflection. As nurses we are tasked with writing a personal reflection journal which becomes part of our re-validation evidence every three years – evidence that we think about the consequences of our interactions with patients and colleagues and reflect on the effect they have on us. It appears that this is also an essential ingredient in the development of personal resilience.

Duncan’s summary of actions which promote personal resilience is worth reading and not exclusively by healthcare professionals. It is a tool kit for us all during the current pandemic and beyond.

Develop personal resilience.

  • Practice of healthy coping strategies (Hudgins 2016)
  • Encouraging hopefulness (Hart et. al. 2014)
  • Using positive language and supporting self-efficacy (Hudgins 2016)
  • Supporting positive emotions (Bonanno 2004)
  • Development of a mentoring relationship (Jackson et al 2007)
  • Developing strong social support (Tsai et al 2012, Kalahar-Levering 2019)
  • Journal writing and self‐reflection to enhance emotional insight (Giordano 1997)