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Resilience in nursing
Nursing involves complex caring work—nurses support patients physically as well as mentally. During critical times of illness, patients may be vulnerable to stress buildup and breakdown, unless they are able to access and use effective strategies to avoid, reframe, or relieve negative stressors. At these times, nurses themselves may be vulnerable to the negative stressors by association. Witnessing other peoples’ adversity can be traumatizing. Thus, the issues to be discussed in this chapter, the concept of resilience and how it can be developed, are relevant for nurses in two ways. Nurses can draw on knowledge about resilience to assist and encourage patients to withstand the pressures of ill health and to maximize their own strengths and supports to stay strong. Nurses can also apply what they know to their own health and well-being so that the physical, emotional, and cognitive labor involved with caring does not become a burden and deplete caring reserves. The skill with which resilience strategies can be applied by nurses in their interactions with patients can be subtle and effective, yet when missing from care can leave patients feeling helpless and exposed.