There are no consistent definitions for what resilience actually is, yet I am beginning to actively dislike the word. It is beginning to sound as though it might be the magic pill everyone within the #NHS might need to take in order to survive. I am not so sure.
We don’t know much about resilience, yet it has been suggested that healthcare professionals need to be supported, not trained in resilience. I am inclined to agree.
Resilience building has a hidden cost in that “By introducing this focus on developing ourselves into “happy”, “positive” leaders one could argue that we are merely buoying ourselves away from, and in effect delaying, what is inevitable – the call to deal with the reality of our current state of play.”
Having ‘resilience’ puts the ownership of survival upon the beholder….. Does this mean that “You have had your resilience training (or ‘pill’) therefore you should be resilient now”? …. Will there be no room to show anything other than a new found ability to ‘cope’?
The NHS is a challenging place to work, and healthcare professionals are doing their best to survive and deliver the compassionate care that they wish to give. So should we be making the NHS a less challenging place to work? or be toughening up those who work there to become ‘resilient’ to adversities?
This is going to be a relatively short post, but I wanted to write down a few analogies that may help us all in thinking about what ‘resilience’ may really mean for us.
If you were being punched repeatedly in the face, would you:
A) Try to become resilient to the pain?
B) Try to reduce/stop the punching?
Perhaps a bit of both, but you see my point. The girl in the street who gets attacked does not need to wear a longer skirt, fight back harder or scream louder. Her attacker needs to stop attacking her.
The danger comes when staff feel that they should become more resilient rather than seek support for any pain they may be suffering. NHS staff health is vital to safe and effective patient care, and we would all like to see staff engaging happily with their work.
Yet perhaps the ‘Magic’ #Resilience Pill may actually be the placebo that masks our incredibly valued sensitivity as healthcare professionals.
“The notion of resilience in midwifery as the panacea to resolve current concerns may need rethinking. Resilience may be interpreted as expecting midwives ‘to toughen up’ in a workplace setting that is socially, economically and culturally challenging. Sustainability calls for examination of the reciprocity between environments of working and the individual midwife.”
Whatever the case, it is time to be kind to each other. Always.