Resilience: Staying motivated through uncertainty

Talk Tuesday - August 4, 2020


Kelly Hallock, RN BScN,
Partner Avante Leadership Consulting Ltd.
Certified Speaker, Trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team

Kelly is an independent certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team. Kelly has worked in the healthcare setting for over 12 years as a registered nurse in various specialties including critical care, oncology, transplant, medicine and clinical education. Kelly joined the John Maxwell team and completed her certification in 2017. She is certified to speak, train and coach in the areas of leadership development and personal and professional growth. Kelly helps individuals and organizations increase their professional skills, which ultimately improves productivity, efficiency and overall performance.


Kelly Hallock, registered nurse, partner with Avante Leadership Consulting Ltd, and certified speaker, trainer and coach with the John Maxwell Team joined us. 

Kelly shared two definitions of resilience, one from the Mind Tools Content Team and the other from the American Psychological Association. She described common attributes of resilient people. These attributes include viewing a difficulty as a challenge, commitment, focusing on personal control, maintaining a positive outlook and solid goals, and being empathetic and compassionate. 

The three habits or strategies that Kelly outlined to bolster and maintain individual resilience include perspective, focus, and leaving it at the door. Within each strategy Kelly offered several examples and approaches to integrating these into our daily lives. 


Question and answer 

1. Did you have meetings with leadership as well? How did you build relationships with community health staff?

Yes! We were in almost constant communication with health directors in both communities. Administration attended meetings with council and other community leaders and the discussion and decisions that followed filtered down to clinical staff. The clinical staff are constantly working alongside community supports. It’s been a bit different getting to know the people and processes when you can’t meet anyone in person but everyone understands things are different and are being quite gracious to each other.

2. What kind of challenges did you have working in First Nations during the pandemic?

  • The technology limitations were the most dramatic. Options that are available elsewhere just don’t exist in some places. Sometimes there's not even a little cell coverage and even if you can pay for it, the Internet isn’t available.
  • Another big barrier was transportation. Both of people to appointments but also of medications to communities without their own pharmacy, which takes up to a week during normal times.


3. What kind of preparations are being made in Indigenous communities for a second wave of COVID-19?

I haven’t heard anything formally though I would expect returning to more restricted access to communities again and possible withdrawal of external services to reduce the risk of importation of the virus.

4. Any thoughts on telephone nursing? Public health has suddenly changed from face to face to a voice on the phone.

This is a great example of how our traditional way of work was suddenly disrupted and we had to think differently. It sounds like nurses are doing a really great job trying to figure it out, working to take what’s already been done and adapt, but don’t be too hard on yourselves if you’ve missed something! Make notes to plan for improvement and reflect on the practice but don’t get stuck. Keep a positive mindset! Think, “I can do this! It’ll look different…You might have to ask a few different questions.” Just because the environment we’re doing the work in is different doesn’t mean the work itself is entirely different.

5. How can we maintain a positive but realistic view with our clients when we ourselves have uncertainty and fear?

  • At the beginning of all of this I felt like I went through a range of emotions and I think we all did. Curiosity helped me. I needed to learn about the virus, how it spreads. I needed to know for myself that what I was relaying was accurate, I needed to feel confident in the information I shared. When you have your own fears a curiosity mindset is what should come in. Think about: what am I fearful of? Is it the unknown or the virus? What do I need to learn about to keep going?
  • I took control of what I could control. I can’t control how the patient feels but I can be calm for them now, I can tell them what I know. I can tell them I have this information to share with you. I can tell them what I know today and be in that moment, present with the patient. Patients are probably just as nervous as I am but they’re coming to me.
  • Having a check in with a team or an accountability person and sharing with them, “I’m really nervous about this”. I had a time when I was taking two showers a day but didn’t want to scare my kids with how nervous I was. Having those conversations, that accountability, before the day got started really helped. We got to know how everyone was feeling that day, got emotion out of the way and then were able to be confident because we had already addressed as a team how we were feeling and addressed questions before the patients arrived.

6. Can you share with us about the leadership course you took? Is it available in Canada? What was the cost?

The John Maxwell Team is ongoing, lifelong learning. They’re based in the United States but they're a global organization. I have access to teaching all his tools and resources, they have a team that creates content, there are mentors and faculty. I learn about speaking, coaching and leadership. I’m in the mentorship program now. The cost changes all the time because there are special offers all the time. When I took it, it was four or five thousand dollars Canadian but there are payment options. I got to go to the International Live Certification Event in Florida for three days paid for by them and meet thousands of people from around the world. There's a huge network in Canada, every province has people.

7. What are your thoughts about how to leave work at work and home stuff at home when you’re working remotely from home?

It’s tough if you have kids or other things at home. Consider creating your own space, setting a routine such as still getting up at 0730h, having breakfast, getting dressed. Try to stay disciplined with these things. Communicating with leadership about what you can make work and the options. Maybe you can’t get things done between twelve and one but maybe you can do five to eight. This is a time we have to think a little differently, if something doesn’t work one day, try a new way. There is no perfect way to do this and it’s difficult.

8. Some clinical nurses live with elderly family members and are worried about spreading the virus at home and it’s affecting them emotionally and physically.

I had those fears too, I have two kids. If I was involved with or interacting with somebody who we thought had the potential of interacting with COVID-19 I always shower when I get home. I change at work and shower at home and change again. I know in my own mind that I’m safe, if I’ve worn my PPE properly… Before I leave the unit I wipe my pens, phone, shoes… It's a ritual I have for myself so I know I’ve kept myself safe. I can’t control what other people do but I know I can control what I bring home. For me learning something new helped get rid of the can I refocus my brain so I can stop focusing on COVID and start refocusing on my why and my why is my patients.