Nurse Resilience in Acute Clinical Settings

Kaitlin Perry
2020 Scope: Contemporary Research Topics (Health and Wellbeing 5)  
INTRODUCTION Nurses practising in New Zealand (NZ) face difficult, ever-changing and dynamic challenges in the workplace (New Zealand Nurses Organisation [NZNO], 2020). These include an increasing population, an ageing nursing workforce, local and global health care environments that are in a state of continuous change, a tightening economic climate and unpredictability in the nursing workforce (NZNO, 2020). In these times, a lack of nurse resilience can result in burnout, moral distress and
more » ... h job turnover. Nurse burnout can result in detrimental health outcomes, such as drug and alcohol abuse and psychological distress (Vahey, Aiken, Sloane, Clarke, & Vargas, 2004). These negative effects highlight the importance of developing resilience as a nurse, in order to achieve improved health outcomes for all. In this paper, I focus on five major themes which appear repeatedly throughout the literature. While existing literature regarding the creation of resilience represents these themes in a variety of contexts, the content of this paper will primarily focus on their application to nurse resilience in the acute clinical setting. CLINICAL ISSUE Resilience is a strategy for overcoming challenges in the nursing profession (Yilmaz, 2017) . Lowe (2013) suggests that nurses who adopt resilient characteristics reduce the incidence of stress and burnout while increasing the quality of patient care and inspiring better health outcomes. Aburn, Gott, and Hoare (2016) define resilience as the ability of a person to effectively cope or bounce back despite adverse conditions. Furthermore, Connor (2006) suggests that resilience alleviates moral distress and burnout throughout the nursing profession. Complementary to this, Epstein, Burns, and Conlon (2010) indicate that increased stress levels can cause negative effects such as burnout, moral distress, mental health issues and substance abuse as nurses in the acute clinical setting make an effort to practise in such a way that aligns with their personal and professional values. A recent clinical placement in an acute setting heightened my awareness of how practising as a nurse is not only emotionally draining, but physically demanding as well. Resilience is an extremely relevant issue in nursing, and it enables a sustainable nursing profession. Observing burnout and high stress levels among nurses, and the impact this has on the level of care patients receive, made me think about what makes a nurse resilient and the important role resilience plays in nursing care. So, how can nurse resilience be enhanced in the acute clinical setting?
doi:10.34074/scop.3005018 fatcat:g6rsf2appjc4temh6pxasnecqy