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Resilience vs Nurturing

October 24, 2022

‘Resilience’ gets talked about a lot in this busy, modern world.
The implication being that those who are more resilient will be less likely to burn out in the face of extreme work demands.

But that inference is flawed in so many ways.

📥 Just because someone continues to show up at work, doesn’t mean they are achieving peak performance ➡️ is this ‘resilience’?
🏋️‍♀️ Measuring resilience based solely on how much weight someone can carry actually says nothing about their performance over time ➡️ is this ‘resilience’?
🌊 Although someone is struggling at work, they may be dealing with huge added stressors behind the scenes ➡️ is that ‘resilience’?

Who gets to define who is resilient and who isn’t? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Resilience is a dynamic state.
It fluctuates and can be nurtured.
It is not a fixed trait.

To be ‘resilient’ is to be able to oscillate within a homeostatic range or take only a short time to rebound back into this spectrum of ‘normal’ quickly after an insult. It doesn’t mean we must be able to “bend without breaking”. In fact, the collective resilience of the members of an ecosystem says more about the health of the ecosystem than it does about any one person or entity within it. If many members of the same ecosystem are struggling, then the ecosystem itself is unhealthy rather than the individuals lacking resilience. This is the situation that the healthcare industry now finds itself in.

So now we have a choice as an industry… do we keep blaming the individuals within healthcare for systemic failings, citing “lack of resilience”? Or do we see the almost ubiquitous presence of burn out amongst healthcare professionals as a sign that the healthcare ecosystem needs a drastic re-design?

What if, instead of fixating on ‘resilience’ we instead focussed on nurturing? On building the capacity of each individual to achieve their best?

The current model of health care is built upon the good will of caring people. It has taken advantage of the ‘resilience’ of so many for a long time.

The entire healthcare ecosystem needs an overhaul- and compassion, nurturing & kindness need to be at its core.
Not just for patients, but for healthcare workers too.

I know that it can seem overwhelming to think about all that needs to change on a systemic level. But within each of our circles of control is the ability to start these ripples of kindness. By embedding self care, self awareness and self compassion into the teaching of medical students, doctors and all healthcare workers- we are starting by nurturing the change makers.

You deserve as much love, care and compassion as your patients do. You deserve to be nurtured.

This is exactly what we aim to do both on our retreats and trainings, as well as promoting and fostering in the wider health community. Our #10000wholehearts initiative is about spreading kindness and compassion throughout our profession and bringing to the forefront our common humanity. We are doctors, but we are people first.

Small changes, amplified over time have the capacity to create great shifts ❤️🩺.

If you would like to learn more about our retreats or how you can work with us- either via speaking engagements, workshops or other bespoke training opportunities then please get in touch via our contact page.