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Whole-health nursing: Caring for self so you can care for others

September 22, 2020
Posted In: ATSU News, ATSU Schools, CGHS, Faculty & Staff Headlines, University Headlines

Written by Sue Roe, DPA, MS, BSN, RN, chair and associate professor, A.T. Still University-College of Graduate Health Studies nursing program, this is the first of a bi-monthly nursing program blog.

How Resilient Are You?

Why is resilience important? Being resilient means, you have the ability to recover from, or easily adjust to adversity or change. Some say that it means you are able to “bounce back.” Others picture resilience as “bouncing forward.” This suggests that when building resilience, you do more than just recover. Instead, you grow from the experience.

How can you strengthen your capacity for resilience? Capacity for resilience is based on your thoughts, interpretation of events, and available resources. It is also based on the available emotional energy you have at the time for dealing with challenging situations. Those who are resilient view problems and adversity as opportunities to learn and grow. They see that they have control, influence, or leverage rather than avoiding or shutting down.

Below, find suggested approaches that can help you become more resilient.  

            1. Build your level of wellness and physical well-being. The more physical and emotional fuel you have, the more likely you will have the energy needed to tackle difficult situations.   

            2. Reflect on your personal thinking habits. Try not to catastrophize or imagine the worst-case scenario and then let it get in the way. Rather, see difficult situations as simply challenges and opportunities to grow.

            3. Practice mindfulness, be consistently present. Intentionally respond to your own and other’s emotions and thoughts without judgement.

            4. Check your level of optimism. Strive to feel positive about yourself, others, and situations. Optimism, while often seen as a genetic trait, can be learned and becomes a hardwired response.

            5. Express feelings of gratitude. Be thankful and deeply appreciative of what you already have. Include self-compassion into your daily life and don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

            6.  Adopt an attitude of not giving up. Build your grit. Grit is having the passion and perseverance to continue to push through adversity to pursue your personal and professional goals.

Your capacity for resilience is best strengthened by routinely integrating approaches such as these suggestions into your life and your practice.

The ATSU-CGHS graduate nursing program recognizes the importance of resilience by integrating opportunities to build its capacity throughout its master of science in nursing and doctor of nursing practice. Some examples include:

  • Students complete self-reflective journals, which give them a platform to critically think and assess their responses to issues and situations. Collaborative feedback on these reflections are offered by student colleagues and instructors.
  • At the end of each course, students work on their strategic practice narrative. The narrative is a portfolio containing personal and professional assessments that inform practice. Ongoing input into the narrative also helps furnish the fuel needed for resilience. Students focus on their wellness and physical well-being by assessing their personal and professional self-care. They continually assess how often and well they use self-care strategies in their daily activities and practice.  

I end asking again, how resilient are you? I encourage you to use the suggestions and examples so you can “bounce forward” and grow the next time you respond to adversity or change.   

Reference List

American Psychological Association. (2012). Building your resilience. 

Duckworth, A. (2017). Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success. Penguin.

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Scribner.

Hanson R., & Hanson, F. (2018). Resilient: How to grow an unshakable core of calm, strength, and happiness. Harmony Books.

Hanson, R. (2013). Hardwiring happiness. The new brain science of contentment, calm, and confidence. Harmony Books.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, May 15). Resilience: Build skills to endure hardship. Mayo Clinic.

The Resilience Institute. (n.d.). Resources.

UCSF Human Resources.  (2014, August 12). A personal strategy for engaging and building your resilience

Zolli, A., & Healy. A.M. (2012). Resilience: Why things bounce back. Free Press. 

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