Hosted by @WeNurses using #WeNurses

Suggested and guest hosted with @steesimprove @mhnurselecturer @maxine_craig




“Resilience” is a topic of particular interest to a growing variety of stakeholders in health and social care and beyond. This is evident in the relatively recent call for science to adopt a more positive mindset (Luthar and Zelazo, 2003: cited in Mohaupt, 2009) and the rise of ‘positive psychology', but you can find resiliency research present in fields as diverse as ecology, physics, medicine, social psychology, and psychiatry as far back as the 1940's (Mohaupt, 2009).


Coming from the latin ‘resilio' meaning ‘spring back' (Oxford Dictionary, 2010) in a therapeutic context it describes how people can get through adversity by drawing upon their various strengths (Kyuken, Padesky and Dudley, 2009). Definitions and the usage of resilience have clearly changed over time, but the bottom line is that resilience is currently conceptualised as “a dynamic concept referring to a person's ability to maintain or regain health after exposure to adversity” (Herrman and Jane-LLopis, 2012, p.1).


Our question and topic for our nursing twitter chat is – how do we build personal resilience as a nurse? The idea of nursing (and indeed we could argue any kind of person-focused work) as a kind of “emotional labour” with a concomitant risk of “burnout” is well established in the literature and in the various nursing fields ( Henderson , 2001; Brotheridge and Grandey, 2002, Mann and Cowburn, 2005). It would seem to make sense then to join these things up and consider carefully how nurses can apply the developing expertise from well-being and positive-psychology research (e.g. Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) to themselves, colleagues and those they care for.


Positive-psychology interventions (PPI) are not primarily about treating people with emotional and psychological health difficulties (EPHD), although there is a considerable interest and research into this (see Sin and Lyubomirsky, 2009). PPI strategies run the gamut of writing thank-you letters, practicing optimistic thinking, re-living/rehearsing positive experiences, and practicing mindfulness skills. These have been shown to increase well-being in people without EPHD (e.g. Lyubomirsky et al. 2011). The need for national and local NHS strategies to develop staff health and well-being was recognised on the back of the Boorman report (Boorman, 2009) and led to the development of the Department of Health (DH) “Health Staff, Better Care for Patients” National guidance for the NHS (DH, 2011). Your NHS trust should have a health and well-being strategy and policy.


That's the rhetoric – what of the reality? The national guidelines places staff at the top of the chain in terms of responsibility in their illustrative diagram of how we should go about “embedding improvements to the health and well-being of staff in the NHS” (DH, 2011, p.6). There is, naturally, the predictable raft of guidelines for managers, the organisation, the wider health system and the community beyond that. So, in the light of all this how do we build personal resilience as nurses?



Boorman, S. (2009), NHS Health and Well-being: Final Report, DoH.

Brotheridge C.M. and Grandey A.A. (2002), Emotional Labor and Burnout: compating Two Perspectives of “Perople Work”, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 60: pp.17-39.

Department of Health (2011), Healthy Staff, Better Care for Patients: Realignment of Occupational Health Services to the NHS in England , DoH.

Henderson A. (2001), Emotional Labor and nursing: an under-appreciated aspect of caring work, Nursing Inquiry, 8(2); p130-8.

Herrman H. and Jane-Llopis E., (2012), The status of mental health promotion. Public Health Reviews, 34(2).

Kuyken W., Padesky C.A. & Dudley R., 2009, Collaborative Case Conceptualization: Working Effectively with Clients in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, New York : Guildford Press.

Lyubormirsky, S., Dickerhoof, r., Boehm, J.K., and Sheldon, K.M. (2011). Becoming happier takes both a will and a proper way: an experimental longitudinal interventions to boost well-being. Emotion. 11(2): pp 391-402.

Mann S. and Cowburn J. (2005), Emotional labour and stress within mental health nursing, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 12 (2), pp154-162.

Mohaupt, S. (2009), Review Article: Resilience and Social Exclusion, Social Policy and Society, 8 (1), pp 63-71.

Oxford Dictionaries. (2010) Oxford Dictionaries Oxford University Press. (accessed February 18, 2013).

Seligman, M.E.P. and Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist, 55, p5-14.

Sin N.L. and Lyubomirsky S. (2009), Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology intervnetions: A practice-friendly meta-analysis., Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5): pp.467-487.

About our guest hosts:

    Dr Maxine Craig, Head of OD , South Tees Hospitals NHS FT, Middlesbrough . I am a nurse who ended up a development professional (which isn't that much different as the job entails supporting the self-care and development of others, which is what I did as a ward sister in Elderly Care in the 80's). I am passionate about the NHS being a great place to work. Since 2003 we have worked to create a culture of openness that keeps our patients safe. Within this work we have kicked off a strategic theme of helping staff to build their resilience to cope with the changes facing the NHS. We are striving to help staff be happy and healthy. We are learning lots.
Maxine tweets as @maxine_craig

Stephen Williams
, Lecturer-Practitioner in Mental Health Nursing, University of Bradford and Bradford District Care Trust. I'm currently delivering pre- and post- registration mental health nurse training with a particular specialist interest in cognitive-behavioural therapy, recovery and transformation. I'm a nurse therapist in for Bradford District Care NHS Trust. I'm also a collaborating researcher with the Bradford Dementia Group. I'm interested in resilience primarily as a concept significant to personal recovery from ‘severe mental health difficulties' or ‘mental illness'.


Stephen tweets as @mhnurselecturer


Andrew Moore is an Organisational Development Practitioner and a Chartered Human Resources professional. I have worked within the NHS for 7 years having previously worked in people management and development within both the private and third sectors for over 20 years. Since joining the Corporate Improvement Team in 2010 I have specialised in Leadership and has designed and managed the Leadership Development programme. Key themes have included authentic leadership, engaging leadership, interdependent leadership and transformational leadership. I am extremely passionate about people, specifically their wellbeing and development and through that supporting them in recognising how they can build resilience during particularly challenging times. Part of this year has been for me to focus on the current thinking around resilience and to look at measurement. I have also mapped resources available to support resilience and am in the process of developing a format for awareness session.

Andrew tweets as @steesimprove

Contributors to this chat, click on their profile pic to follow them...


Chat Summary    
by @NHSAndrewM
I very much enjoyed being one of the hosts on last nights Tweetchat, Personal Resilience forms a large part of my current portfolio, so it was great to be able to reach out to other colleagues and agencies in order to prompt further thinking and development around this crucial subject area.
The country, the NHS and many organisations including ours are part of large scale change which results from technological and scientific advancement, demographic changes and economic turmoil. At present a lot of us find ourselves are surrounded by uncertainty and unprecedented change, keeping ourselves healthy and being able to adapt to the changes is critical to both personal wellbeing and our ability to provide high quality services to the public we serve. I feel this view was evidenced and authenticated through the Tweetchat last night and is a common reason for the need to be able to “bounce back”. The ability to “bounce back” was one of the key themes for me last night; along with what do we need to support us in doing this.
What is resilience and why does it matter? Resilience is generally viewed as the ability to positively adapt and/or “bounce back” from adverse situations – staying positive when the going gets tough. Current models of resilience at both an individual and organisational level i.e. emerging stronger as a result of a challenge or setback (Vogus and Sutcliffe, 2007).
Some themes and direct quotes are detailed below in order for readers to gleam an insight and ‘sense' of ideas and thoughts.
•  How to develop and maintain personal resilience.
– “Resilience is possible when I know I've done my best professionally and emotionally”
– “maintenance of personal & professional strength. Ability to manage what is thrust on you”
•  Effective Leadership.
– “Good leadership fundamental for promoting resilience in staff base”
•  Assessment of Resilience levels.
– “For me recognising what signals a change in personal or team resilience”
I mentioned a useful on line i-resilience tool
•  Resources and support
•  Working in a positive team culture
Much much more was covered last night, I hope I have captured the main themes but would definitely recommend a visit to the transcript via spotify. For me one of the greatest benefits was making the new contacts and the clarity for the need for this stream of work, I note we had over 70 contributors!
 Thank you once again @WeNurses for the opportunity of co-hosting and look forward to working with you again.
Andrew Moore, OD Practitioner, South Tees hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


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Chat transcript via storify  

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