Promoting a Culture of Resilience

July 11, 2022
July 11, 2022

Lack of professional development, high patient to nurse ratios, changing payment trends, new COVID-19 variants, staffing shortages – if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that those who work in healthcare are more resilient than anyone has ever given them credit for. Your frontline staff and first responders have put the needs of the community you care for ahead of their own personal needs. How are you investing in your staff to ensure that they are supported and understand your commitment to promoting a culture of resilience and ensuring there’s a plan in place for staff health and mental wellness?


What Is Resilience?

Definitions of resilience can be quite varied, but there are some common elements. Characteristics of personal resilience include the ability to withstand, adapt to and recover from adversity and stressful situations. It is further defined by an ability to return to a normal level of functioning more quickly and the ability to not become overwhelmed by stressful or changing circumstances. A widely quoted study laid out the impact of a lack of resilience in healthcare workers. It can result in anxiety, depression, anger, confusion and sleeplessness.

Perhaps, in the past, not much thought has been given to helping healthcare workers develop resilience, but the recent years have changed healthcare requiring organizations to think about the resilience and wellness of their teams and that of the organization itself.


The Risk of Ignoring Resilience

Healthcare organizations need strategies to help them build employee resilience. During the pandemic most have worked hard to build organizational resilience, but there is a risk to ignoring that trait at the employee-level. Burnout, long an issue for healthcare workers, is a likely outcome if those workers do not have a strategy for building personal resilience. Along with the risk of burnout is another risk that is highly associated with burnout – turnover. Building resilience in healthcare workers helps protect workers, but it also protects our healthcare delivery system’s ability to continue to provide care for the communities it serves by improving retention.


Strategies to Build Resilience

Advice on this topic is abundant, but really operationalizing recommendations that promote resilience and good mental health can be a challenge. So, if healthcare organizations want to create a healthy and resilient workforce, where do they start?

Healthcare organizations must create an actionable plan to combat burnout and reduce turnover. An important first step is to understand what mental health is, possibly remove stigma if any is present and then understand how to support oneself during times of distress. Clinicians must recognize the early warning signs of mental health distress, to know when to apply remedial practices. Then practical solutions can be applied, such as mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork. Once these have been established, healthcare professions can continue building skills, not just to mitigate and manage distress, but to thrive in their environment.

HealthStream has tools that can help strengthen resilience in healthcare professionals by diving into these initiatives. HealthStream’s program begins by helping healthcare leaders identify the signs of burnout and offers solutions on how to address those issues. It is an important tool now, but the nature of healthcare means that tools that help build resilience will remain important long after the pandemic is in our rear view mirror.

The Resilience in Healthcare will integrate seamlessly with the HealthStream learning platform and can help customers begin addressing resilience with employees very quickly. It helps by providing contemporary resilience education that can help employees develop the resilience that they need to deal with a pandemic as well as whatever the next major crisis happens to be.

It also gives leaders tools to help them gauge organizational resilience. The “Gauging Your Resilience to Burnout” survey aggregates non-identifiable employee data into a dashboard-style report that will help healthcare organizations assess organization-wide results and can help them build a plan for improving employee resilience.  

In addition, HealthStream offers a product that provides the Mental Health Ally Certification Program by Psych Hub, the leading provider in behavioral health content. The library includes five micro-certification tracks that focus on a variety of critical mental health topics as well as exclusive access to a behavioral health resource center and supplemental provider and patient videos.

For more information, visit: https://www.healthstream.com/solution/learning-performance/leadership-upskilling/resilience-in-healthcare