Dr Jenny Napier has written a fantastic article in the journal of holistic medicine “Resilience – How we keep sailing”. She “draws parallels between resilience and what is required for safe sailing and navigation”.
She talks about the importance of
- social networks, both within and outside of work”- the stronger these are, “the more resilient we become”
- strong effective leadership without undermining behaviour and bullying which destroys relationships, stamina and morale
- support and supervision to provide safe spaces, such as peer supervision groups in general practice and Schwartz rounds in hospitals
- being grounded in the present (which mindfulness practice can help)
- being connected to our sense of purpose and meaning
For me, social networks have been key to bouncing back. Having the support and belief in me as a person from family and friends, including all the mums in my community who I had not known for long, was truly amazing. When I started to tell a few people what had happened, I felt moved by their compassion, understanding and acceptance. Many started to share their stories with me. It made me really appreciate the value of reaching out to people.
This is echoed by Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk “How to make stress your friend”. She says that “human connection is our body’s built-in mechanism to stress resilience” and that “when you choose to reach out to others when under stress, you create resilience”
Tea and empathy, a Facebook group, is an example of an excellent digital social network. It offers a safe, supportive and compassionate forum for doctors to discuss their difficulties with like-minded colleagues from all over the UK.
Some useful resources are:
Courses and workshops
- Dr Rachel Morris a GP in Cambridge is offering courses about “resilience…. for professionals including doctors. It’s very experiential, includes mindfulness and exercise and really helps you to look at your own choices and behaviour“.
- Dr Chris Johnstone Resilience Specialist, has set up “Resilience for doctors”, recently promoted by the RCGP (June 2016) through an article “Top tips for improving your resilience at work“. Courses are currently work in progress, but he does promotes a series of webinars on his site.
- The NHS Improving Quality arm recommend i-resilience a free health resource to assess your resilience.
Articles and other resources
- Dr Chris Johnstone (above) article “Top tips on improving resilience at work“
- Dr Jenny Napier – “Well-being for GPs – what can we do to prevent burnout?”
- Some royal colleges offer support here ie RCOG “Improving resilience” site