Compassion Resilience Toolkit For Health and Human Services

Why Build Resilience?

A focus on compassion resilience will guide a diverse staff back to the core set of values and the drive for a sense of purpose that drew them to work in health care in the first place.

It will do so by supporting the development of a strong set of skills to manage expectations, set professional and personal boundaries, build effective collegial relationships, and practice real-time and ongoing self-care. A focus on relational trust between providers, clients, families, colleagues and administrators will encourage a culture of wellness, personal resilience, and exploration of new ideas that promote high-quality care.

An understanding of systems drivers of fatigue and the differential impact on staff who work without the benefit of unearned privilege allows for a critical examination of power, resources, and who gets support, and who does not.

Identification of these gaps encourages prioritization of resources and support for those who need it the most. Health care providers aren’t the only ones who benefit from a focus on resilience. Administrators, supervisors, client services staff, paraprofessionals, and others who form the health care community contribute to the decisive elements that influence an agency that is thriving. For a deeper introduction on the particular interests of leaders and administrators in promoting and improving compassion and resilience in the work environment, see Toolkit Addendum: An Introduction for Leaders.

The Trauma and Equity Informed Perspective and Staff Resilience

Trauma informed values include a focus on safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness, empowerment, and cultural responsiveness. Staff are invited through individual and team activities to be honored, listened to, and supported in exploring the expression of these values and their impact on well-being at work. Awareness and self-reflection exercises with collegial support invite a collaborative space to examine how staff feel included and engaged at work.

The painful and real context of oppression (racism, sexism, classism, etc.) contributes to fatigue and, without being named openly and addressed when possible, exacerbates stress and isolation which can take an extraordinary toll.

The individual well-being strategies included in the toolkit are meant to support people as they navigate challenging and often oppressive systems. Even more important are the tools and activities throughout the toolkit that are intended to support systems (teams, organizations, institutions) in changing oppressive practices so these individual well-being strategies will be less needed. Conversations where people walk alongside each other without judgment, recognize our unique strengths and challenges, and extend accountability to each other in the form of listening, learning, and transformation are the core methodology.

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