First Advisor

Hummel, Faye I.

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Using descriptive phenomenological investigation, this study shed light on the phenomenon of resilience for nurses in high acuity clinical settings. The purpose of this study was to explore, understand, and describe experiences of resilience by nurses in the clinical setting who demonstrate characteristics of resilience and investigate the meaning these experiences held for them. Another purpose for this study was to increase the knowledge base that nurses and nurse educators have regarding resilience including what factors contribute to the emergence and maintenance of resilience. One-on-one interviews with 14 female nurses and one male nurse who had five or more years of current or previous full time work experience in the intensive care unit, emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit, or intermediate care unit not only provided a description of how resilience appears to the individual nurse, but how the phenomenon is present within the intersubjective nurse community. Seven themes were identified in the study: (a) Theme 1, Communication with Peers and Others; (b) Theme 2, Personal Fortification and Protection; (c) Theme 3, Managing and Processing Experiences; (d) Theme 4, Utilizing Supportive Resources; (e) Theme 5, Gaining and Applying Knowledge; (f) Theme 6, Connection with Patient and Family; and (g) Theme 7, Recognizing the Meaning and Impact of Experiences. Findings which emerged from the data indicate that experiences with resilience play a role in fostering career longevity as well as individual well-being for nurses and their patients. It is recommended the profession explore ways of creating and incorporating effective educational/support programs intended to cultivate resilience into the curriculum and clinical setting with the objective of fortifying the ability of nurses to combat the negative effects of stressful and traumatic workplace environments.


Burnout, Nurse, Nursing, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Resilience


216 pages

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