The Importance of Resilient Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers are not robots, but you would be forgiven sometimes for thinking that they are. After all, healthcare workers, doctors and others alike, undoubtedly have one of the most stressful jobs around. There’s little time for sentimentality when you are dealing with life and death cases nearly every day. The most important thing, above all, is to save lives. However, this is not something that comes naturally, and many healthcare workers new to the job report a definite adjustment period. Unfortunately, among the postings on health job boards, resilience is rarely stated as a requirement. However, perhaps it should be.

Of course, resilience doesn’t just mean an ability to deal with the emotional toll that healthcare work can take. Rather, it can refer to an ability to deal with all the strenuous tasks that are essential for effective healthcare. Health Jobs, a healthcare recruitment service, says that resilience is increasingly becoming recognized as a key employee trait, but also something that both applicants and employers should bear in mind when it comes to the hiring process.

What Does Resilience Really Mean?

So, if resilience refers to more than just dealing with all of the things in healthcare work which are emotionally taxing, what precisely does it mean in this context? As a working definition, we could certainly say that it is the ability to deal with everything that is hard about healthcare work. This includes things like managing overwork and the attendant health concerns while also maintaining a professional and compassionate attitude.

It is well known that healthcare workers are at an increased risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These are just two of the things that stress can cause, but there are a lot more besides. Stress is considered a factor in a depressing litany of different conditions from things like substance abuse all the way up to premature death. Accordingly, we might say, above all, that a resilient healthcare worker is one who can effectively manage stress. If you are hiring new employees for your institution, you should make it clear from the outset that effective stress resilience is a key requirement.

Traits of Resilient Employees

Resilient workers, therefore, are those that are adept at managing stress. However, this particular quality can mean many different things in practice. A resilient worker is one that is flexible, optimistic, can look after themselves well, and maintain a positive attitude in the face of taxing circumstances. They should also have certain practical skills such as time management, good problem-solving abilities, and a real persistence with every task they undertake.

Some people possess a genetic tendency to be resilient, but it is also something that can be effectively learned. Ideally, any healthcare worker should be able to demonstrate their resilience with reference to parts of their training or education where resilience was specifically tested. This could be practical assignments or preliminary work placements. None of these training elements will adequately prepare a new recruit for the realities of actually working in a hospital, but they are the best preparation a candidate can have.

Of course, if you are appraising the resilience of potential recruit and they have previous working experience, then you should always defer to this when assessing their resilience.

Last Word

Ultimately, resilience is a pretty broad term and can encompass all manner of traits and attributes. However, it should be pretty clear which of those predict success in the healthcare field. If you are an employer, seek them out; if you are a healthcare worker yourself, try to cultivate them in yourself.