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The ability to recover from difficulties or stress is an
important characteristic all nurses should possess. This ability, known as
resiliency, is the capability of “bouncing back” from hardships or adversity in
everyday life. This quality is of dire importance to possess as nursing is a
stressful occupation. Resiliency allows the nurse to remain focused on the task
at hand; offering the safety, care and compassion owed to the patient. Without
it, nurses are at higher risk for developing stress-related illnesses such as
anxiety and depression.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of
resiliency, and how it affects the lives of those in the nursing profession. High
morality, support, and affective leadership are just some of the factors that
influence the levels of resiliency amongst the profession. Resiliency can be
learned through multiple channels including training through workshops that
teach coping mechanisms for stress and how to deal with situations that might
make a nurse’s career almost seem unbearable at any given time. Learning these
mechanisms will assist the nurse in exercising good judgment and in providing
better patient care as he or she will be more positive, alert, and be able to
communicate more effectively. Nurses that are less stressed are more energetic,
motivated, and capable of handling tasks and extra responsibilities which are
all positive qualities.

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Two articles will be reviewed in this paper. The first article
is an exploration of the concept of resiliency amongst new nurses via a
research study that was conducted. The study focused on the implementation of a
stress management and resiliency training program that coincided with a new
nurse orientation program and the efficacy of this early intervention. Early
intervention is crucial, especially for new nurses being exposed to highly
stressful situations. Many have not yet learned the ability to move on after
certain ordeals that might otherwise make them second guess their choice of
profession.

The second article focuses on the need for nursing leaders
to discover solutions for the recruitment, support, and retention of nurses who
may experience burnout as a direct result of stress in the workplace. The
concept of resilience is reviewed to include the contributing factors leading
to the need for resilience as well as the strategies to build it in the process
of recruiting and retention of nurses. 
Focusing on retention is of utmost importance; high retention rates
reflect high levels of job satisfaction, which in turn reflects on the quality
of care at any given establishment.

Enhancing Resilience Among New Nurses

Anyone starting a new career can attest to the stress of uncertainty
that comes with change. As such, orientation introduces new employees to their
new job, giving them a general understanding of their duties, expectations, and
often, company policies. However, many places do not integrate strategies for
coping with the stress to come, especially in a health care setting. The
stressful transition from nursing school to the real world can easily decrease
retention rates due to the challenges they face in the complex setting that is,
as prepared as they might think they are, completely alien to them. Challenging
patients, situations unfamiliar to anything they have experienced before,
lacking time management skills, or the ability to quickly think on their feet
are all over-stimulating when diving head first into their dream job.

Historically, stressors in a clinical setting tend to
include work overload from staffing shortages, unordinary patients, critique,
criticism not taken lightly, the relationships between colleagues, lacking
support from direct supervisors or even peers, and abiding by the rules and
regulations. These stressors can not only negatively impact one’s own health
and well-being, but they can also impact the safety and welfare of patients in
their charge. Excess stress is often a preamble for substance abuse, poor
mental health, tardiness or absenteeism, and injury, just to name a few. These
in turn relay to inadequate staffing which puts patients at risk for
less-than-mediocre care. Despite these downfalls, remedies to reduce stress
have been rare, though not nonexistent.

A study was conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to
observe the outcomes of a “Stress Management and Resiliency Training” (SMART)
program within a new nurse orientation program. This SMART program has shown
promise in its pilot. It has helped participants understand the dynamics of
stress. Throughout the program, participants learn crucial skills in adapting
to the prevalent cursors of stress by refocusing their attention on core
principles, including gratitude, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, and
higher meaning. Statistical methods were used to gather data from the study
which reflected that those who participated in the SMART intervention program
did not have a significant change in perceived stress, but mindfulness, anxiety
and resilience levels improved in the group. The control group was noted to
have an increase in anxiety and a decrease in resiliency and mindfulness. In
conclusion of the study, the integration of a SMART program was noted to be
feasible as a crucial method of intervening stress and anxiety while enhancing
mindfulness and resilience amongst new nurses.

Resilience in Nurses

            Seasoned
nurses are also prone to the stresses of the workplace. Resiliency is a dynamic
process and a trait that sets one aside from others when faced with obstacles
of everyday life. The second topic of discussion is an evaluation of the
concept of resilience as it relates to potential strategies for strengthening
the current nursing workforce. The intent of the research was to gain knowledge
that will help nurses and managers learn how to enhance and improve resilience
while working in this field. Conducting an integrative assessment creates
current nursing research of resilience in nursing practice and recognizes what is
lacking in the literature to focus future research. The study involved research
and literature reviews over a time span that seemingly reflect minimal
attention regarding new nurses entering the workforce and the retention of
experienced ones. Several analyses on resilience have been published since as
researchers have grasped the importance of the concept to clinical performance
in hospitals. It was recognized that recovering and carrying on from stressful
situations, possessing a sense of self-worth, willpower and a helping attitude
towards others are crucial characteristics of resilient nurses. It is very
important to possess strong relationships with one’s cohorts as they provide
the framework for rebounding, reintegration, and social support. Possessing a
sense of humor and self-efficacy are just as important.

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