11 Techniques for Nurse Leaders to Build Resilience in Their Nurses

With the new pressures on health and the healthcare sector that we’ve seen in the last year or so, the nursing profession has come under a lot of pressure.

The high-stress environment of healthcare, and especially nursing, can lead to serious problems with burnout and stress. All of these concerns point to the need to develop resilience in nursing staff and in teams.

The Role of Nursing Leadership

Nursing leadership staff have an important job to do in healthcare, and that is to build resilient teams that can survive tough working environments. The good news is that building resilience in nurses is something that can be done with a few simple techniques.

The best place to start is with the actual teams themselves. Managing teams for resilience has several benefits, including increased productivity and increased retention rates of junior staff.

Tips For Building Resilience

Resilience is a funny word in some ways. There is no way to quantify exactly what resilience is, and it is highly dependent on the person and personality of the nurse involved. 

For the purposes of this article, we need to think of resilience as building the tools to cope in difficult situations and difficult work environments.

These are just a few tips on how to build better resilience in high-performance nursing teams.

Deal With Stressful Situations 

The best way to train nurses to manage stress is through role-playing stressful situations. A great way to do this is through a safe but stressful simulation exercise. This gives nurses a chance to learn from the mistakes of others and their peers while making sure it stays safe and controlled.

This can also be applied to real-life situations that come up in hospitals, such as a particularly stressful day or a patient who is particularly difficult. Rehearsing these scenarios properly can help nurses cope with them on the spot.

Learn From Failure 

Sometimes, resilience must be fostered through failure. In order for nurses to really grow and develop resilience on the job, they must also learn from failures. 

This is best done through frank talks with peers about the failings of a situation and how to improve them going forward. These talks should be constructive, not blaming or critical in nature.

Take Time For Yourself

Building resilience also means allowing time to rest and recover from work. This is a well-known fact, but one that many nurses don’t take seriously enough. If your nursing team is experiencing high levels of stress and burnout, it’s likely that you’re all working too hard. 

Allow a few breaks throughout the day for nurses to exercise or simply to relax. This builds in much-needed recovery time for staff, allowing them to return with renewed energy and enthusiasm for their jobs.

Manage From The Top Down 

Managing nurse leaders is much different from managing other kinds of office staff. Nurses are a highly self-motivated group who will perform best when given a clear goal and a chance to work towards it. This also means that nurses need to be rewarded well for their work, as the job itself does not accrue financial rewards.

This can be done by applying goals from above to goals at lower levels of the overall department so that every nurse has something to shoot for.

Motivate Nurses 

Resilience requires a sense of purpose and meaning in the job that comes from management. If management is not communicating clear goals and objectives for their team, nurses will have little reason to try their best at work.

Resilience building in nursing can be done by management through a clear set of objectives and goals for each nurse in the team. Clearly communicating these goals with nursing staff when they apply for a position can also help to create a sense of personal investment when they begin work.

Provide an Open Forum For Feedback

Resilience requires open and honest feedback on strategies and work performance.

To build resilience in the nursing team, the nursing leader must provide an open forum for nurses to give each other feedback on their strategies and work performance. This type of feedback is crucial to improving resilience in the long term.

If management isn’t providing this forum, then nurses can provide it themselves by holding meetings in groups in which problems are discussed openly in an attempt to find answers or solutions. 

These meetings should be informal in nature, with no hidden agendas or information given ahead of time to prevent someone from getting upset with an outcome they didn’t expect.

Don’t Fall For Cheap Perks

Resilience in nursing is a simple concept, but it can be a difficult thing to actually implement effectively in one’s team. Resilience building is a continuous process of working towards the goal of making the best nurse team possible.

However, it’s also important to note that there are no quick fixes to improving resilience in nursing. As such, no shortcuts such as employee benefits or other financial incentives (which don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with resilience) should be given to nurses without careful consideration and consideration of the benefits and costs associated with each one.

Specialized toolkits and courses can also help make resilience-building easier for managers and leaders when trying to think about solutions for their teams.

Make Time To Listen (without judgment)

Resilience in nursing also requires an open forum of listening. This can be difficult in some situations, but it’s necessary for helping nursing teams to address problems and concerns more openly. Using these kinds of forums can help to identify problems within team culture that may contribute to stress or burnout of staff, allowing them to be addressed more directly by management.

This is also beneficial for nurses who are struggling with their jobs or have personal problems that might be affecting their work performance. Encouraging these kinds of discussions through an official channel is a great way for nurses to feel comfortable sharing highly personal information without judgment. It encourages healing and builds resilience among the entire team when these things are allowed to come up openly in the discussion.

Make Time For Good Coffee (and plenty of it)

It’s important for nurses to build resilience by providing each other with enough time to relax and recharge between work sessions. Regular breaks during the day will allow staff to take their minds off of work and return with enhanced energy and enthusiasm. As such, providing good coffee breaks and regular short breaks throughout the day can help nurses to feel more connected and connected with one another.

Keenly aware nurses can also prevent burnout by ensuring that they take a break during the day to do something fun or just relax after a long shift or stressful situation. Make this a priority and spend regular time giving yourself mental and physical breaks that will keep you going.

Work With Professionals To Avoid Burnout

Resilience building in healthcare is a constantly ongoing process, and it often requires the input of professionals in the field. 

Nurses who feel constantly burned out should not be afraid to seek professional help to help them rebuild their confidence and energy so that they can come back to work with renewed vigour. Professional advice can be sought through counselling or therapy, self-help books, online courses, online programs, or even short-term individual sessions if the need arises.

Stick To Your Core Values

Nothing can stop nurses from delivering the best possible level of service to their patients. In fact, resilience is a core component of being a nurse. In order to provide that great service, nurses need to have the skills and the motivation to help those who have been given less chance at life.

Resilience building in nursing is one of those skills. By providing a safe environment for feedback and honest appraisals of work performance, you can build a high level of resilience in your nursing team through honest feedback and regular workshops.


Resilience in nursing is a skill that is absolutely necessary for the success of the profession. While resilience building should always be a goal, it isn’t always easy to achieve. Knowing how to build resilience in your nursing team can help you achieve the kind of workplace culture that allows teams to be more successful while working with others on difficult tasks.

It’s important for nursing teams to work together and consult each other when they feel that they are struggling or struggling through difficult personal situations while at work. Resilience building in healthcare is something that should be practiced on an individual level, but also something that should be focused on improving the entire team’s ability to handle stress during everyday work sessions.

Resilience building can even help with recruitment efforts. This type of environment with the ability to have a safe space to talk about problems and concerns can help with team-building and finding qualified people who want to be part of a resilient environment.

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