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4 Keys to Staffing Resilient Healthcare Teams

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Dec 6, 2021

surgeons at hospital

One quality that the pandemic demanded from many healthcare organizations in its early days was resilience. Resilience is an ability to cope with change, disruption, and duress. In fact, the term resilience comes from the Latin root resilire, which means “the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens.”

With burnout from emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and detachment a common concern among healthcare professionals, how do you staff a medical department with resilient HCPs who can handle disruptive conditions, such as the early days of COVID-19?

Here are four qualities that define resilient HCP candidates.

Four Resilient Healthcare Team Qualities

1. Leadership

Many roles in healthcare require strong leadership during “normal” situations, but this quality is in even more demand under adverse conditions. A candidate who has a heightened self-confidence, an ability to delegate quickly, and a clear vision of how to maximize positive outcomes during emergencies will make a perfect fit for a resilient team.

Resilience is important at all levels of healthcare, but leaders need more of it. You should look for emotional toughness and a calm demeanor when interviewing candidates about working under stressful conditions. In addition, the best candidates will have a desire to build resilience among their coworkers.

2. Communication

The ability to communicate effectively when times get tough is critical to building resilience. Whether the path is from leaders to staff or between front-line workers, strong communicators soften the blow of a disruptive situation.

For example, candidates for leadership roles should be able to clearly communicate vision when setting organizational policies during adverse events. Physicians must provide directions that are clear and complete, so there is no misunderstanding. And nursing hires need to share information effectively to support patient needs when difficult situations arise.

3. Empathy

Healthcare professionals are typically empathetic toward their patients. One challenge during stressful times, however, is displaying empathy for coworkers. When an event such as a pandemic occurs, it’s all hands on deck–and everyone does not respond in the same way.

Hiring candidates who have an empathetic view towards coworkers strengthens a team in general. But empathy can be even more valuable during times of duress. Therefore, finding candidates who express this characteristic helps build a resilient team.

4. Team Orientation

As an extension of empathy, candidates who feel a sense of shared duty are fundamental to a resilient team. When every team member is on the same page about responsibilities and expectations in an emergency, stress is reduced. This enables coworkers to interact smoothly with one another during adversity.

When team members embrace their shared responsibility in responding to difficult situations, they will be well positioned to react without hesitation to adverse conditions.

To build resilience, explore what a candidate’s mental model of teamwork is and how they would coordinate effectively, predict other’s responses, and make decisions collectively in the moment.

The coronavirus outbreak revealed the need for resilient healthcare organizations. So look for these four resiliency characteristics when hiring staff so your organization is prepared to effectively respond the next time an urgent, disruptive event arrives.


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