eCite Digital Repository

Building Resilience in Burns Nurses: A Descriptive Phenomenological Inquiry


Kornhaber, RA and Wilson, A, Building Resilience in Burns Nurses: A Descriptive Phenomenological Inquiry, Journal of Burn Care & Research, 32, (4) pp. 481-488. ISSN 1559-047X (2011) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011 American Burn Association

DOI: doi:10.1097/BCR.0b013e3182223c89


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the concept of building resilience as a strategy for responding to adversity experienced by burns nurses. Nurses who care for patients with severe burn injury are often exposed to patients' pain and disfigurement, encountering emotional exhaustion, distress, reduced self-esteem, and desensitization to pain. Resilience has been identified as an essential characteristic for nurses in their work environment. Resilience assists nurses to bounce back and to cope in the face of adversity, sustaining them through difficult and challenging working environments. Nonetheless, there remains limited information that addresses the concept of building resilience in burns nurses. In 2009, seven burns nurses were recruited from a severe burn injury unit in New South Wales, Australia. A qualitative phenomenological methodology was used to construct themes depicting nurses' experiences. Participants were selected through purposeful sampling, and data were collected through in-depth individual semistructured interviews using open-ended questions. Data were analyzed with Colaizzi's phenomenological method of data analysis. The concept of building resilience as a strategy for coping with adversity was identified and organized into six categories: toughening up, natural selection, emotional toughness, coping with the challenges, regrouping and recharging, and emotional detachment. The findings clearly demonstrate that it is vital for burns nurses to build resilience to endure the emotional trauma of nursing patients with severe burn injury. Knowledge about building resilience could be incorporated into nursing education for both undergraduate and experienced nurses. Building resilience within the domain of burns nursing has the potential to retain nurses within the profession, having implications for staff development, orientation, and retention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:'lived experience'; phenomenology; nursing; resilience
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Acute care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Nursing
UTAS Author:Kornhaber, RA (Dr Rachel Kornhaber)
ID Code:94805
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:37
Deposited By:Health Sciences B
Deposited On:2014-09-17
Last Modified:2017-11-02

Repository Staff Only: item control page