Resilience in the context of anaesthesia and intensive care medicine is the ability to manage the breadth, depth, intensity and chronicity of the demands of the work. The concept of resilience is often misunderstood: it is a dynamic, contextual process that goes beyond the narrow conceptions of individual ‘toughness’ that it can be reduced to. Resilience is important for those working in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, and indeed staff throughout healthcare, as it is inevitable that difficult cases and situations will be encountered during our working lives. In addition, the way in which we respond to these events is critical to our own welfare and competence at work.
This article is about accepting that our working lives are difficult, that this is a big part of the attraction of our work and that it is wise to look at ways in which both team and personal resilience can be improved.