Title of ArticleA scoping review exploring how the conceptualisation of resilience in nursing influences interventions aimed at increasing resilience
Type of ArticleCritical Review of Literature
Author/sGemma Stacey and Grace Cook
ReferenceVolume 9, Issue 1, Article 9
Date of PublicationMay 2019
KeywordsHealthcare, nursing, resilience-based education, resilience, scoping review


Background: The development of a more resilient nursing workforce has been identified as a strategy to improve the individual’s response to workplace adversity, which has positive implications for staff wellbeing and delivery of person-centred care. Strategies to increase resilience are largely focused on improving the ability to manage work-related stress.

Aim: To conduct a scoping review exploring how conceptualisations of resilience influence educational interventions designed to increase resilience in nurses and nursing students.

Methods: CINAHL, PubMed and Medline were searched. A PICO search strategy was used with the keywords resilience or resilience based education and nurse or student nurse. Additionally, distress tolerance or emotional intelligence or professional quality of life or compassion fatigue or burnout or retention were identified as associated keywords. Quantitative analysis captured the frequency of study characteristics. Qualitative, deductive contact analysis was used in order to report the nature and effectiveness of resilience-based interventions.

Findings: Interventions predominantly included teaching of approaches that improve knowledge of and response to stress. Increase in resilience or proxy measures of resilience were identified in the majority of studies. Generalisation was limited by the small samples sizes and failure to consider the implications of organisational, individual and contextual factors across the evidence base.

Conclusions: Caution should be applied when designing resilience interventions that focus on the individual’s responsibility to cope better with stress. This priority neglects the role of diversity, community and the need for the organisation to learn and grow in response to adversity.

Implications for practice:

  • While the skills to manage the emotional consequences of healthcare practice are present at an individual level, they should be developed as part of a community that shares a critical dialogue, offers supportive relationships and enables reflective discussion
  • When delivered as an inclusive, participatory and collaborative intervention, resilience becomes integral to practice development
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