Resilience in the Health Professions: A review of recent literature


  • Clare M McCann The University of Auckland
  • Elizabeth Beddoe The University of Auckland
  • Katie McCormick The University of Auckland
  • Peter Huggard The University of Auckland
  • Sally Kedge The University of Auckland
  • Carole Adamson The University of Auckland
  • Jayne Huggard The University of Auckland


resilience, health professionals, literature review


All health professions face numerous stressors within their clinical practice, including time pressures, workload, multiple roles and emotional issues. Frequent workplace stress can impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of health professionals and result in burnout and, in some cases, traumatic stress-like symptoms. These outcomes can impact not only on the wellbeing of health professionals but also on their ability to practise effectively. It is therefore imperative that a preventive approach is adopted. Developing resilience-promoting environments within the health professions can be explored as a means to reduce negative, and increase positive, outcomes of stress in health professionals.

This literature review seeks to elucidate the processes and characteristics (both individual and contextual) that enhance resilience in the health professions. It explores relevant literature from five health professions (nursing, social work, psychology, counselling and medicine) to identify the individual and contextual resilience-enhancing qualities of each profession.

Commonalities and differences between the disciplines are identified in order to arrive at a definitive explanation of resilience across health professions. Implications for clinical practice and recommendations for further research are also discussed.



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Author Biography

Clare M McCann, The University of Auckland

Lecturer in speech-language therapy







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