Fostering a Culture of Resilience

By Patricia O’Malley, PhD, RN, CNS, Premier Health director of nursing research

On August 3, 2018, Mary Boosalis, Premier Health president and CEO, posted a blog in SharePoint titled Stronger Together. She describes well what we have gone through this past year as we move toward our future while caring for our community.

Change, even when planned, is difficult to navigate. Boundaries are fluid, energy is often sparse, and the known road is often replaced by new paths and expectations. Mary proposes that we have endured this journey so far because we worked together, in relationship, which helped us meet all of the challenges born of change.

Is this time of change and transition over? No. Change and transition have become the mantra for all health care organizations in the United States planning for the future. So how best to keep working together, in relationship, to meet our known and unknown future?

Evidence suggests that resilience is the key. Resilience is not an attitude of seeing the glass as “half-full,” or a character trait. Resilience is a choice that drives one’s capacity for adaptation in change. Choosing resilience means the difference between a full and happy life versus a life of despair, victimization, and dysfunction. Resiliency is a primitive yet powerful life skill.

Resilience is choosing to adapt and live when encountering significant change, adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or stress. Resilience is reflected as hardiness, resourcefulness, and mental toughness. Since resilience is a choice, everyone can be resilient!

Evidence suggests that the following factors can significantly help one increase their resilience:

  1. Maintain close positive relationships, both personal and professional. Be part of a community of supportive peers.
  2. Seek assistance when needed. No one needs to go all alone on the journey!
  3. Hold on to the belief that there is always something one can do during difficult times.
  4. Identify as a survivor – not as a victim.
  5. Help others to be resilient.
  6. Find the meaning inherent in your work.
  7. Develop realistic goals and move toward them while being flexible.
  8. Maintain a long-term perspective to keep the perceptions of stress in broader context and less intense.
  9. Take care of yourself – body, mind, and spirit.

Evidence suggests from Mary’s observations and others that Premier Health nurses are very resilient. Cultivate these evidence-based recommendations to continue to grow your resilience, beginning with nurturing your personal and professional relationships.


McGee E. The Healing Circle: Resiliency in Nurses. Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2006; 27:43–57.

Hart P, Brannan J, De Chesnay M. Resilience in nurses: an integrative review. Journal of Nursing Management. 2012; 22(6): 720-734.

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