Resilience: The Power Within

Eileen Grafton

Brigid Gillespie

Saras Henderson

ONF 2010, 37(6), 698-705. DOI: 10.1188/10.ONF.698-705

Purpose/Objectives: To advance understanding of resilience as an innate resource and its potential and relevance in the management of workplace stress for oncology nurses.

Data Sources: Journal articles and research results, particularly seminal literature from a variety of Australian and international journals and published texts, including government and nursing organizations.

Data Synthesis: Resilience is defined as an innate energy or motivating life force present to varying degrees in every individual, exemplified by the presence of particular traits or characteristics that, through application of dynamic processes, enable an individual to cope with, recover from, and grow as a result of stress or adversity. Literature from a wide variety of fields, including physics, medicine, theology, philosophy, psychology, and spirituality, was reviewed to build an overview of existing knowledge and evolving theories on the subject of resilience and further the understanding of resilience as an innate personal resource.

Conclusions: Innate resilience can be developed or enhanced through cognitive transformational practices, education, and environmental support. Such processes may have use in ameliorating the effects of workplace stress.

Implications for Nursing: The complex nature of oncology and other specialty nursing roles creates a certain amount of inevitable stress that depletes the self and may lead to compassion fatigue and burnout. A greater understanding of resilience as an innate stress response resource highlights the need for processes that support resilience development and organizational and personal stress-management strategies for nurses to be part of mainstream nursing education.

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