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Well, at least that’s what an NHS executive told me at a meeting recently.

There are now NHS resilience training workshops happening around the country. They will teach us how to cope with all the changes that are going on. And we all need to accept new measures, toughen up, be strong, shake it off and get on with the job. We need to be more resilient.

OK. That’s an interesting take. But let’s step back and explore this word “resilience”.

resilience (rɪˈzɪlɪəns)


1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness

2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity

Yes, there are changes happening in the NHS. Some of them may be for the greater good, and of course we need to move with the times.

But many of them are not. Many of them are very damaging. And no frontline NHS worker would disagree.



Have you ever wondered why health care professionals do what they do? It’s certainly not for the money. And it’s not for status either. Personally, the novelty of carrying the title “Doctor” in front of my name wore off after a weekend.

No. It’s because we care. We have a deep desire to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of our community.

So what if the changes being imposed upon us ultimately prevent us from doing our job to the best of our ability – should we just accept them?

If we feel these changes may be harmful to patient care, should we just toughen up, be strong, shake it off and get on with the job?

Because that doesn’t make us resilient. It makes us complicit. It means we’re indoctrinated. And in that state of mind, our days truly are numbered.

To me, resilience is not about quietly doing what you’re told. It’s not about numbing the internal conflict within you.

Resilience is about standing up for your beliefs in the face of adversity. It’s about resisting changes that do not resonate with you at your core. Being strong and committed to what you know is true. Having unshakable certainty and conviction in what you feel is right.

Having the strength to say No without fear of consequences.

Remembering who you really are.

That’s real resilience.

But you won’t learn that from an NHS workshop anytime soon…


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