April 2020 Presidential Message - We Must Foster Culture of Resilience > The Society for Simulation in Healthcare


Here we are, smack-dab in the middle of it. As I type this, it has been 84 days since COVID-19 was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization. By now, we are all getting tired of working from home, lack of widespread social contact, and the virtual and/or relatively challenging measures under which we are operating – both clinically and at our sim centers.

In this light, I suggest we take time to consider the topic of resilience – even though being resilient is likely not a new topic for caregivers and healthcare educators. Difficult conversations, life-and-death decisions – these things require a resilient spirit.

Individual “resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before.”[i] Resilience is a quality that can be cultivated by a rich, positive mental attitude, an optimistic viewpoint, exhibiting control over one’s emotions, and seeing adversities and failure as a form of useful feedback.

Organizations – hint: schools, sim centers and businesses – can be resilient, too. “Organizational Resilience is the ability of an organization to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to incremental change and sudden disruptions in order to survive and prosper.”[ii]

There are typically three organizational approaches to resilience.

The first, a defensive approach, involves keeping unacceptable things from happening. The second, a progressive approach, involves making acceptable things happen. The third is a mix between the two that marries consistency with flexibility.

As we adjust to the moving target that is the “eventually new normal”, I encourage you to foster resilience within yourselves and your teams. Focus on the wins, small or big, and learn from the setbacks. Continue to find ways to leverage your simulation expertise and capabilities to the benefit of others. Anticipate the inevitable disruptions, prepare for their arrival, and adapt your posture to meet them with consistency and flexibility.

Yes, we are still in the middle of it, and may be for quite a while. Cultivating both personal and organizational resilience will help us to reach the end – whatever and whenever that may be – carefully, confidently, and successfully.

Good luck, and please share your resilience journey with SSH!

Bob Armstrong

SSH President

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