Exploring Environmental Factors in Nursing Workplaces That Promote Psychological Resilience: Constructing a Unified Theoretical Model

Front Psychol. 2016 May 13:7:600. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00600. eCollection 2016.


Building nurses' resilience to complex and stressful practice environments is necessary to keep skilled nurses in the workplace and ensuring safe patient care. A unified theoretical framework titled Health Services Workplace Environmental Resilience Model (HSWERM), is presented to explain the environmental factors in the workplace that promote nurses' resilience. The framework builds on a previously-published theoretical model of individual resilience, which identified the key constructs of psychological resilience as self-efficacy, coping and mindfulness, but did not examine environmental factors in the workplace that promote nurses' resilience. This unified theoretical framework was developed using a literary synthesis drawing on data from international studies and literature reviews on the nursing workforce in hospitals. The most frequent workplace environmental factors were identified, extracted and clustered in alignment with key constructs for psychological resilience. Six major organizational concepts emerged that related to a positive resilience-building workplace and formed the foundation of the theoretical model. Three concepts related to nursing staff support (professional, practice, personal) and three related to nursing staff development (professional, practice, personal) within the workplace environment. The unified theoretical model incorporates these concepts within the workplace context, linking to the nurse, and then impacting on personal resilience and workplace outcomes, and its use has the potential to increase staff retention and quality of patient care.

Keywords: environment; nurses; resilience; workplace.