Research Article| Volume 20, ISSUE 1, P17-25, March 2013

Download started.


Exploring resilience in paediatric oncology nursing staff


      Resilience has been suggested as an important coping strategy for nurses working in demanding settings, such as paediatric oncology. This qualitative study explored paediatric oncology nurses’ perceptions of their development of resilience and how this resilience underpinned their ability to deal with work-related stressors. Five paediatric oncology nurses were interviewed about their understanding of the concept of resilience, their preferred coping mechanisms, and their day-today work in paediatric oncology.
      Using thematic analysis, the interviews were subsequently grouped together into seventeen initial themes. These themes were then grouped into seven major aspects that described how the participants perceived resilience underpinned their work. These “seven aspects of forming resilience” contributed to an initial understanding of how paediatric oncology nurses develop resilience in the face of their personal and professional challenges.
      Several key strategies derived from the findings, such as improved rostering, support to a nurse's friend and family, and a clinical support nursing role, could be implemented at an organizational level to support resilience development within the paediatric oncology setting.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Collegian
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Ablett J.R.
        • Jones R.S.P.
        Resilience and well-being in palliative care staff: A qualitative study of hospice nurses’ experience of work.
        Psycho-Oncology. 2007; 16: 733-740
        • Bond D.C.
        The measured intensity of work-related stressors in pediatric oncology nursing.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 1994; 11: 44-52
        • Braun V.
        • Clarke V.
        Using thematic analysis in psychology.
        Qualitative Research in Psychology. 2006; 3: 77-101
        • Chang A.
        • Kicis J.
        • Sangha G.
        Effect of the clinical support nurse role on work-related stress for nurses on an inpatient pediatric oncology unit.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 2007; 24: 340-349
        • Cohen M.Z.
        • Haberman M.R.
        • Steeves R.
        • Deatrick J.A.
        Rewards and difficulties of oncology nursing.
        Oncology Nursing Forum. 1994; 21: 9-17
        • Cohen M.Z.
        • Sarter B.
        Love and work: Oncology nurses’ view of the meaning of their work.
        Oncology Nursing Forum. 1992; 19: 1481-1486
        • Council of Remote Area Nurses of Australia
        Bush support services – CRANA.
        2009 (Retrieved from
        • Cunningham M.
        Impact of trauma work on social work clinicians: Empirical findings.
        Social Work. 2003; 48: 451-459
        • Davey B.
        • Desousa C.
        • Robinson S.
        • Murrells T.
        The policy-practice divide: Who has clinical supervision in nursing?.
        Journal of Research in Nursing. 2006; 11: 237-248
        • De Vaus D.A.
        Research design in social research.
        Sage Publications, London2001
        • Earvolino-Ramirez M.
        Resilience: A concept analysis.
        Nursing Forum. 2007; 42: 73-82
        • Edward K.
        The phenomenon of resilience in crisis care mental health clinicians.
        International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. 2005; 14: 142-148
        • Ekedahl M.
        • Wengström Y.
        Nurses in cancer care-coping strategies when encountering existential issues.
        European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2006; 10: 128-139
        • Florio G.A.
        • Donnelly J.P.
        • Zevor M.A.
        The structure of work-related stress and coping among oncology nurses in high-stress medical settings: A transactional analysis.
        Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 1998; 3: 227-242
        • Gillespie B.M.
        • Chaboyer W.
        • Wallis M.
        • Grimbeek P.
        Resilience in the operating room: Developing and testing of a resilience model.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2007; 59: 427-438
        • Hentz P.B.
        Case study: The method.
        in: Munhall P.L. Nursing research – A qualitative perspective. 4th edition. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Massachusetts2007: 349-358
        • Hinds P.S.
        • Quargnenti A.G.
        • Hickey S.S.
        • Magnum G.H.
        A comparison of the stress–response sequence in new and experienced pediatric oncology nurses.
        Cancer Nursing. 1994; 17: 61-71
        • Hinds P.S.
        • Sanders C.B.
        • Srivastava D.K.
        • Hickey S.
        • Jayawardene D.
        • Milligan M.
        • et al.
        Testing the stress–response sequence model in pediatric oncology nursing.
        Journal of Advanced Nursing. 1998; 28: 1146-1157
        • Hodges H.F.
        • Keeley A.C.
        • Troyan P.J.
        Professional resilience in baccalaureate-prepared acute care nurses: First steps.
        Nursing Education Perspectives. 2008; 29: 80-89
        • Isikahn V.
        • Comez T.
        • Zafer Danis M.
        Job stress and coping strategies in health care professionals working with cancer patients.
        European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2004; 8: 234-244
        • Kobasa S.C.
        The hardy personality: Toward a social psychology of stress and health.
        in: Sanders G.S. Suls J. Social psychology of health and illness. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., New Jersey1982: 3-32
        • Kushnir T.
        • Rabgin S.
        • Azulai S.
        A descriptive study of stress management in a group of pediatric oncology nurses.
        Cancer Nursing. 1997; 20: 414-421
        • Lewis A.E.
        Reducing burnout: Development of an oncology staff bereavement program.
        Oncology Nursing Forum. 1999; 26: 1065-1069
        • Maslach C.
        • Schaufeli W.B.
        • Leiter M.P.
        Job burnout.
        Annual Review of Psychology. 2001; 52: 397-422
        • Masten A.S.
        Ordinary magic – Resilience processes in development.
        American Psychologist. 2001; 56: 227-238
        • Maytum J.C.
        • Heiman M.B.
        • Garwick A.W.
        Compassion fatigue and burnout in nurses who work with children with chronic conditions and their families.
        Journal of Pediatric Health Care. 2004; 18: 171-179
        • McGee E.M.
        The healing circle: Resiliency in nurses.
        Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2006; 27: 43-57
        • Muscatello M.R.A.
        • Bruno A.
        • Carroccio C.
        • Cedro C.
        • La Torre D.
        • Di Rosa A.E.
        • et al.
        Association between burnout and anger in oncology versus ophthalmology health care professionals.
        Psychological Report. 2006; 99: 641-650
        • Olson M.S.
        • Hinds P.S.
        • Euell K.
        • Quargnenti A.
        • Milligan M.
        • Foppiano P.
        • et al.
        Peak and nadir experiences and their consequences described by pediatric oncology nurses.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 1998; 15: 13-24
        • Papadatou D.
        • Anagnostopoulous F.
        • Monos D.
        Factors contributing to the development of burnout in oncology nursing.
        British Journal of Medical Psychology. 1994; 67: 187-199
        • Papadatou D.
        • Bellali T.
        • Papazoglou I.
        • Petraki D.
        Greek nurse and physician grief as a result of caring for children dying of cancer.
        Pediatric Nursing. 2002; 28: 345-364
        • Rose K.
        • Webb C.
        Analysing data: Maintaining rigor in a qualitative study.
        Qualitative Health Research. 1998; 8: 556-562
        • Sherman A.C.
        • Edwards D.
        • Simonton S.
        • Mehta P.
        Caregiver stress and burnout in an oncology unit.
        Palliative and Supportive Care. 2006; 4: 65-81
        • Sinclair H.A.H
        • Hamill C.
        Does vicarious traumatisation affect oncology nurses? A literature review.
        European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 2006; 11: 348-356
        • Solomon M.Z.
        • Sellers D.E.
        • Heller K.S.
        • Dokken D.L.
        • Levetown M.
        • Rushton C.
        • et al.
        New and lingering controversies in pediatric end-of-life care.
        Pediatrics. 2005; 116: 872-883
        • Sparks T.F.
        Coping with the psychosocial stresses of oncology care.
        Journal of Psychosocial Oncology. 1988; 6: 165-197
        • Stake R.E.
        The art of case study research.
        Sage Publications, California1995
        • Taylor B.
        • Kermode S.
        • Roberts K.
        Research in nursing and health care: Evidence for practice.
        3rd edition. Thomson, Melbourne2007
        • Tugade M.M.
        • Fredrickson B.L.
        Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences.
        Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2004; 86: 320-333
        • Tusaie K.
        • Dyer J.
        Resilience: A historical review of the construct.
        Holistic Nursing Practice. 2004; 18: 3-8
        • Yin R.K.
        Case study research – Design and methods.
        3rd edition. Sage Publications, California2003
        • Zander M.
        • Hutton A.
        • King L.
        Coping and resilience factors in nurses working in pediatric oncology.
        Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing. 2010; 27: 94-108