Background: The emotional labour of nursing work involves managing the emotional demands of relating with patients, families and colleagues. Building nurses’ resilience is an important strategy in mitigating the stress and burnout that may be caused by ongoing exposure to these demands. Understandings of resilience in the context of emotional labour in nursing, however, are limited.
Objectives: To investigate the state of knowledge on resilience in the context of emotional labour in nursing.
Design: Integrative literature review.
Data sources: CINAHL, Medline, Scopus, and PsycINFO electronic databases were searched for abstracts published between 2005 and 2015 and written in English. Reference lists were hand searched.
Review methods: Whittemore and Knafl's integrative review method was used to guide this review. The constant comparative method was used to analyze and synthesize data from 27 peer-reviewed quantitative and qualitative articles. Methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Assessment Tool.
Results: Emotional labour is a facet of all aspects of nursing work and nurse-patient/family/collegial interactions. Emotional dissonance arising from surface acting in emotional labour can lead to stress and burnout. Resilience can be a protective process for the negative effects of emotional labour. Several resilience interventions have been designed to strengthen nurses’ individual resources and reduce the negative effects of workplace stress; however they do not specifically address emotional labour. Inclusion of emotional labour-mitigating strategies is recommended for future resilience interventions.
Conclusion: Resilience is a significant intervention that can build nurses’ resources and address the effects of emotional dissonance in nursing work. There is a need for further investigation of the relationship between resilience and emotional labour in nursing, and robust evaluation of the impact of resilience interventions that address emotional labour.